The development of quality indicators to improve psychosocial care in dementia

Int Psychogeriatr. 2012 Jun;24(6):921-30. doi: 10.1017/S1041610211002523. Epub 2012 Jan 17.


Background: The evidence for the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions in dementia care is growing but the implementation of available evidence is not automatic. Our objective was to develop valid quality indicators (QIs) for psychosocial dementia care that facilitate the implementation process in various countries and settings.

Methods: A RAND-modified Delphi technique was used to develop a potential set of QIs. Two multidisciplinary, international expert panels were involved in achieving content and face validity. Consensus on the final set was reached after a conference meeting where a third panel of dementia experts discussed measurability and applicability of the potential set. A retrospective cohort study was conducted to study the feasibility of using the final set in day care centers, hospitals, and nursing homes in Spain and The Netherlands.

Results: A total of 104 recommendations were selected from guidelines and systematic reviews and appraised for their contribution to improving the quality of dementia care by 49 dementia experts. Twenty-five experts attended the conference meeting and reached consensus on a set of 12 QIs representing the key elements of effective psychosocial care, such as shared decision-making and interventions tailored to needs and preferences. Data from 153 patient records showed that all but one QI subitem were applicable to all three settings in both countries.

Conclusion: Our multidisciplinary and multinational strategy resulted in a set of unique QIs that aims exclusively at assessing the quality of psychosocial dementia care. Following implementation, these QIs will assist dementia care professionals to individualize and tailor psychosocial interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Delphi Technique
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Health Services for the Aged / organization & administration
  • Health Services for the Aged / standards*
  • Humans
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care* / organization & administration
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care* / standards