Effect of animal-assisted activity on balance and quality of life in home-dwelling persons with dementia

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Abstract

Purpose of the study was to examine if animal-assisted activity with a dog (AAA) in home-dwelling persons with dementia (PWDs) attending day-care centers would have an effect on factors related to risk of fall accidents, with balance (Berg balance scale) and quality of life (Quality of Life in Late-stage Dementia) as main outcome. The project was conducted as a prospective and cluster-randomized multicenter trial with a follow-up. 16 adapted day-care centers recruited respectively 42 (intervention group) and 38 (control group with treatment as usual) home-dwelling PWDs. The intervention consisted of 30 min sessions with AAA led by a qualified dog handler twice a week for 12 weeks in groups of 3–7 participants. The significant positive effect on balance indicates that AAA might work as a multifactorial intervention in dementia care and have useful clinical implication by affecting risk of fall.

TRIAL REGISTRATIONS

ClinicalTrial.gov; NCT02008630.

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