There is a need for integrated and effective reablement programs to promote the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers.
The Sustainable Personalised Interventions for Cognition, Care, and Engagement (SPICE) Program is currently being evaluated in Canberra, Australia. SPICE is a multicomponent active therapeutic intervention delivered by allied health professionals over twelve weeks. The five components are: 1) cognitive stimulation therapy (CST); 2) carer education, support and capacity building; 3) physical activity; 4) Care of People with dementia in their Environments (COPE) program; and 5) dietary assessment and advice. Six people with dementia and their six carers participate in a small group twice per week for the CST, carer, and physical activity components, while COPE and dietary assessment and advice are completed as a dyad. Pre- and post-intervention outcome measures on quality of life, neuropsychiatric symptoms, cognitive function, and physical function are being collected, in addition to a program evaluation interview. After four groups have completed the protocol, the SPICE waiting-list pilot trial will finish data collection in early 2024. Here we report on the first group to complete the program.
Attendance to the in-person components of the program were 94% for people with dementia and 92% for carers. All participants completed the COPE program, and compliance with the dietary appointments was 94%. Quantitative outcome measures suggest benefits, but inferences cannot be drawn due to small sample size. Both people with dementia and carers reported high program satisfaction and perceived benefits, supporting the feasibility of the intervention. The program was rewarding for all participants, and carers felt the strategies and lessons learned had immediate benefits. The social aspects, inclusiveness, and group cohesiveness were key drivers of their satisfaction with the program.
The results from the first group to complete the SPICE program shows that an intensive, multicomponent active therapeutic program is feasible and considered valuable for people with dementia and their carers. Findings from the pilot trial are required to confirm the results from the first group to potentially support a randomised controlled trial.