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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2012 Jan;27(1):40-8. doi: 10.1002/gps.2687. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

Guidelines for psychosocial interventions in dementia care: a European survey and comparison.

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Scientific Institute for Quality of Healthcare and Nijmegen Alzheimer Centre, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



The effectiveness of psychosocial interventions in treating people with dementia and their carers is increasingly emphasised in the literature. Dementia guidelines should summarise the scientific evidence and best practice that is currently available, therefore, it should include recommendations for psychosocial interventions. The aims of our study were (1) to collate dementia guidelines from countries across Europe and to check whether they included sections about psychosocial interventions, and (2) to compare the methodological quality and the recommendations for specific psychosocial interventions in these guidelines.


The European dementia guidelines were inventoried. The methodological quality of the guideline sections for psychosocial interventions was assessed with the (AGREE) Appraisal of Guidelines Research and Evaluation instrument. The recommendations for specific psychosocial interventions were extracted from each of these guidelines and compared.


Guidelines for psychosocial interventions were found in five of 12 countries. Guideline developers, methodological quality and appreciation of available evidence influenced the inclusion of psychosocial interventions in dementia guidelines from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. The UK NICE SCIE guideline had the best methodological quality and included the most recommendations for psychosocial interventions. Physical activity and carer interventions were recommended the most across all guidelines.


The inclusion of psychosocial interventions in dementia guidelines is limited across Europe. High-quality guidelines that include psychosocial interventions and are kept up to date with the emerging evidence are needed. Throughout Europe, special attention to the implementation of evidence-based psychosocial care is needed in the next few years.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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