Implementation of an integrative movement program for residents with dementia in a VA nursing home

BMC Geriatr. 2021 Oct 27;21(1):607. doi: 10.1186/s12877-021-02494-2.


Background: Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise (PLIÉ) is an integrative group movement program developed for adults with mild-to-moderate dementia attending day programs. However, many older adults with dementia ultimately require assistance with their activities of daily living and become residents in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities with their complex comorbidities and unique needs. We conducted a post-implementation evaluation of PLIÉ at a San Francisco Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing home to assess reach and effectiveness among residents, staff, and family members who participated in ≥ 1 PLIÉ class from 9/2018 to 6/2019.

Methods: Post-implementation number of classes offered and mean attendance; anonymous satisfaction surveys (5-point Likert scales); qualitative content analysis of open-ended survey responses and clinical progress notes.

Results: Forty-five PLIÉ classes were offered over 9 months. Residents attended an average of 13 ± 12 classes with an average class size of 14 residents, 4 staff members, and 2 family members. Most survey respondents rated the program overall as "very good" or "excellent" (100 % residents, n = 15; 87 % staff, n = 14; 100 % family members, n = 8). Respondents reported improvements in themselves and/or others in four domains: (1) physical, (2) psychological, (3) social, and (4) cognitive. Physical improvements among veterans included mobility, strength, and energy. Psychological improvements included feelings of happiness/well-being, enjoyment, and self-empowerment. Social improvements included connection, social skills, and social support. Cognitive improvements included engagement, communication ability, and focus/attention. Responses were similar among resident, staff, and family member surveys and clinical progress notes. Participants frequently reported improvements in multiple domains (e.g., "The veterans are more alert and engaged, many are smiling and laughing."). Negative comments were primarily related to logistics, suggesting that the class occur more frequently.

Conclusions: PLIÉ was successfully implemented in a VA nursing home with high attendance and satisfaction among residents, staff, and family members. Participants reported clinically meaningful physical, psychological, social, and cognitive benefits. Other long-term care facilities could potentially benefit from implementing PLIÉ to increase quality of life in residents with dementia.

Keywords: Dementia; Exercise; Nursing homes; Quality of care; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Dementia* / therapy
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes
  • Quality of Life*