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Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2018 Oct;18(10):1485-1490. doi: 10.1111/ggi.13509. Epub 2018 Sep 25.

Effects of play activities program for nursing home residents with dementia on pain and psychological well-being: Cluster randomized controlled trial.

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School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Department of Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



The prevalence of chronic pain among nursing home residents with dementia is high. This present study aimed to explore the effectiveness of a play activities program among nursing home residents with dementia.


Each nursing home was randomly assigned to an experimental group or control group. A 1-h play activities program was offered weekly for 8 weeks to the experimental group, whereas participants in the control group read books and magazines for 15 min weekly for the 8 weeks. Outcome measures were assessed at baseline, post-intervention (at week 8) and 4 weeks after the intervention.


A total of 53 nursing home residents from four nursing homes were recruited. There were significant treatment effects on pain, depression and happiness level when comparing the experimental group and control group. However, there were no treatment effects on activities of daily living, social engagement, behavioral symptoms and mobility between the two groups.


The play activities program was useful in reducing pain and improving the psychological health of nursing home residents with dementia. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2018; 18: 1485-1490.


depression; group therapy; pain; psychological and social aspects

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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