Objectives: Montessori-based activities are becoming a popular approach for the care of older adults living with dementia. The aim of this study was to systematically assess the quality of the research examining the benefits of Montessori-based activities for persons with dementia.
Methods: Six peer-reviewed databases were systematically searched for all relevant articles published until April 2015. Included articles were peer-reviewed studies published in English that employed Montessori-based activities with persons with dementia. Methodological quality was assessed by 2 independent raters using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database Scale or the Downs and Black evaluation tool. Levels of evidence were assigned to the study design using a modified Sackett scale.
Results: One hundred fifty articles were identified, and 14 were selected for inclusion. Level-2 evidence examining the impact of Montessori-based activities on eating behaviors suggested that difficulties with eating could be reduced with Montessori training. There was limited level-4 evidence for the benefits of Montessori-based activities on cognition, wherein benefits appeared to be specific to lower-level cognitive abilities including memory and attention. Finally, there is level-1 (n = 1), level-2 (n = 3), and level-4 (n = 6) evidence for the benefits of Montessori-based activities on engagement and affect, whereby constructive engagement and positive affect were heightened.
Discussion: Overall, there is a strong level of evidence for the benefits of Montessori-based activities on eating behaviors and weak evidence for the benefits on cognition. Evidence for the benefits of Montessori-based activities on engagement and affect are mixed. Future research is needed to examine the long-term benefits of Montessori-based activities.
Keywords: Alzheimer disease; Montessori Methods; dementia; systematic review.
Copyright © 2016 AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.