Objective: The goal of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of a memory rehabilitation program to re-learn instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) in patients with Alzheimer disease (AD).
Design: This was a 6-month block-randomized cross-over controlled study.
Setting: All evaluation and training sessions were performed at each patient's home.
Participants: Twenty participants with mild to moderate AD.
Intervention: The trained IADL was chosen by the patient and his/her caregiver in order to target the patient's needs and interests. Participants were trained twice a week for 4 weeks with the errorless learning (ELL) and spaced retrieval (SR) cognitive techniques. After training, there were several follow-ups over a period of at least 3 months.
Measurements: Performance on the trained IADL was assessed by a Direct Measure of Training (DMT), an observational instrument adapted from a well-validated scale. General cognitive function, everyday memory functioning, quality of life, neuropsychiatric symptoms and ADL/IADL of patients, as well as the caregiver's burden were assessed as secondary outcomes.
Results: A statistical significant difference was found between the trained and untrained groups on the DMT immediately following the intervention. Improvements were maintained for a 3-month period. The training did not have effects on any other measures.
Conclusions: The present study showed that it is possible for AD patients to relearn significant IADLs with the ELL and SR techniques and to maintain these gains during at least 3 months. The findings of this study emphasize the importance to design robust but individualized intervention tailored on patients' particular needs.
Keywords: Alzheimer disease; cognitive rehabilitation; errorless learning; instrumental activities of daily living; spaced retrieval.
Copyright © 2014 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.