Evaluating the effectiveness of the abilities-focused approach to morning care of people with dementia

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Background and purpose.

The abilities-focused approach demonstrated efficacy in promoting engagement of residents with dementia in care. The extent to which these resident outcomes can be replicated when the abilities-focused approach is implemented by nursing staff under the conditions of day-to-day practice was investigated in this study. The aim was to examine changes in resident outcomes before and after nursing staff’ implementation of the abilities-focused approach and the contribution of this approach to resident outcomes.


A one-group pretest–post-test design was used. Observational data were obtained from 65 residents with dementia. The data pertained to the implementation of abilities-focused strategies during episodes of morning care and residents’ level of agitation, participation in morning care and physical and psychosocial functioning.


The number of abilities-focused strategies used during morning care increased at post-test. No clinically important changes in resident outcomes were observed over time. However, the implementation of some strategies was associated with residents’ participation in care and functioning at post-test. The results provided preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of the abilities-focused approach in maintaining functioning in people with dementia. Additional research is needed to understand the mechanism underlying the effects of this person-centred approach to care on resident outcomes.

Implications for practice.

Implementation of the abilities-focused approach assists people with dementia to participate in morning care.

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