Psychsocial treatment for Dementia: What's Working?
Effectiveness of validation therapy (VT) in group: preliminary results
Validation therapy (VT) is a widely used psychosocial treatment for dementia even though its efficacy is a matter of debate. Deponte & Missan (2007) set out to compare the effects of VT, sensorial reminiscence (SR) and no treatment on the cognitive, functional and affective status on elderly patients with dementia.
To this end, Deponte & Missan (2007) selected a sample of thirty elderly residents in a nursing home based on the following inclusion criteria: diagnosis of dementia; residency at least six months or longer; above 70 years old; and no concomitant psychiatric pathologies.
The outcomes measured were cognitive functioning, using the Mini Mental State Exami n a t i o n (MMSE ) ; activities of daily living, using the Bedford Alzheimer Nursing Severity Scale (BANSS); and behavioural problems , using neuro-psychiatric inventory (NPI).
All measures were collected at baseline. The participants were then randomly assigned to one of the three groups: control (no psychosocial treatment), VT group (validation therapy group) and SR group (sensorial reminiscence). Each of the two treatment groups met twice weekly for three months.
Each session lasted from 45 to 60 minutes. These groups were conducted by facilitators trained in VT and SR. After three months the outcome measures were collected again.
Surprisingly, the results showed that no significant differences between the groups after treatment. There were, however, significant within-group changes, with participants in the sensorial reminiscence treatment group making gains in all three measures. Their MMSE scores increased significantly, while both their BANSS and NPI decreased significantly. The validation therapy group was successful in significantly decreasing NPI scores but gains in MMSE scores were not significant and BANSS scores remained virtually unchanged.
Given the small sample size and length of study this investigation might be worth repeating. In the meantime, however, it would appear that sensorial reminiscence treatment groups dementia produce better results than validation therapy groups for people with dementia.
Deponte, A. & Missan, R. (2007). Effectiveness of validation therapy (VT) in group: Preliminary Results. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 44: 113-117