Randomized trial of individual reminiscence therapy for older adults with cognitive impairment: a 3-month responder analysis
Introduction. Non-pharmacological intervention options, including individual reminiscence therapy (iRT), have been effective in improving cognitive functioning, mood, and quality of life (QoL) in persons with neurocognitive disorders (NCD).
Objectives. A 13-week randomized trial intervention utilizing iRT was conducted on older adults with NCD. We explored predictors of participants with positive and non-positive intervention responses using responder analysis, an analytic strategy that focuses on contributors to intervention response.
Patients and methods. Re-analysis of a published single-blind, multicentre, randomised controlled trial on 251 older adult residents with NCD from residential facilities across Portugal. Participants received 13 weeks of biweekly iRT (26 sessions) or treatment/programming as usual. Outcomes included global cognition (Minimental State Examination), memory (MAT), executive functioning (FAB), depressive symptoms (GDS-15), and QoL (QoL-AD).
Results. There were more responders in the intervention than the control group on all five criteria, with significant differences for cognition (p = 0.001; f = 0.202; NNT = 5) and memory (p = 0.004; f = 0.184; NNT = 6). At baseline, intervention responders vs non-responders had: higher QoL-AD scores (30.23 vs 25.57; p < 0.001; d = –0.774) for cognition; lower FAB scores (1.41 vs –2.12; p < 0.001; d = 0.928) for executive functioning; higher GDS-15 scores for the depressive symptoms (7.57 vs 4.91; p < 0.001; d = –0.845), and for QoL (6.81 vs 5.33; p = 0.013; d = –0.443).
Conclusions. The iRT intervention showed high response rates for cognition and memory. Those with worse executive dysfunction, mood, and QoL, benefitted most from the intervention for those respective outcomes. Therefore, the presented iRT has beneficial effects for people with NCD, with mood and QoL as important influential factors.
Key words. Dementia. Depressive symptoms. Executive function. Memory. Neurocognitive disorders. QoL.