Impact of TimeSlips creative expression program on behavioral symptoms and psychotropic medication use in persons with dementia in long-term care: a cluster-randomized pilot study

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2014 Apr;22(4):337-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2012.12.005. Epub 2013 Apr 18.


Objectives: To evaluate whether involvement in TimeSlips, a creative storytelling program, reduced mood and behavioral symptoms as well as psychotropic medication use in persons with dementia.

Methods: A cluster-randomized pilot study compared two discrete dementia care units in one nursing home. The control cohort (N = 10) received standard-of-care activity programming, and the intervention cohort (N = 10) received standard-of-care plus two one-hour TimeSlips sessions per week for six weeks. Data on mood and behavioral symptoms and psychotropic drug prescriptions were collected, and within-group and between-group comparisons were performed.

Results: Between-group comparisons did not reveal statistically significant differences in mood and behavioral symptoms. No differences in psychotropic drug prescriptions were found.

Conclusions: Larger trials of longer duration are needed to determine whether involvement in TimeSlips reduces mood and behavioral symptoms that compromise quality of life for persons with dementia.

Keywords: Dementia; TimeSlips; behavioral symptoms; creative expression programs; non-pharmacological.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Behavioral Symptoms / psychology
  • Behavioral Symptoms / therapy*
  • Creativity*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Narration*
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Psychotropic Drugs