Testing the Implementation of the Veder Contact Method: A Theatre-Based Communication method in Dementia Care

Testing the Implementation of the Veder Contact Method: A Theatre-Based Communication method in... Abstract Background and Objectives There is a lack of research on implementation of person-centered care in nursing home care. The purpose of this study was to assess the implementation of the Veder contact method (VCM), a new person-centered method using theatrical, poetic and musical communication for application in 24-hr care. Research Design and Methods Caregivers (n = 136) and residents (n = 141) participated in a 1-year quasi-experimental study. Foundation Theater Veder implemented VCM on six experimental wards and rated implementation quality. Six control wards delivered care-as-usual. Before and after implementation, caregiver behavior was assessed during observations using the Veder-observation list and Quality of Caregivers’ Behavior-list. Caregiver attitude was rated with the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire. Quality of life, behavior, and mood of the residents were measured with QUALIDEM, INTERACT and FACE. Residents’ care plans were examined for person-centered background information. Results Significant improvements in caregivers’ communicative behavior (i.e., the ability to apply VCM, establishing positive interactions) and some aspects of residents’ behavior and quality of life (i.e., positive affect, social relations) were found on the experimental wards with a high implementation score, as compared to the experimental wards with a low implementation score, and the control wards. No significant differences were found between the groups in caregivers’ attitudes, residents’ care plans, or mood. Discussion and Implications The positive changes in caregivers’ behavior and residents’ well-being on the high implementation score wards confirm the partly successful VCM implementation. Distinguishing between wards with a high and low implementation score provided insight into factors which are crucial for successful implementation. Care giving—Formal, Dementia, Nursing homes, Person-centered care With person-centered care (Kitwood, 1997) caregivers can positively influence the mood, behavior, and well-being of people with dementia by taking into account their personal preferences, needs and lifestyle (Brooker, La Fontaine, De Vries, & Latham, 2013). In the last decades, different person-centered care methods, such as validation (Feil, 1992), reminiscence (Woods, Spector, Jones, Orrell, & Davies, 2005), movement activation (Dröes, 1991), and multisensory stimulation (Van Weert et al., 2006) have been developed, implemented, and evaluated. Many studies showed some positive effects on the behavior and quality of life of people with dementia. However, the reported small effect sizes (Livingston et al., 2014) encouraged us to perform additional implementation research. Theoretical Foundation of the Veder Contact Method The Veder contact method (VCM), developed by Foundation Theatre Veder, is a new person-centered method for residential 24-hr care based on emotion-oriented care models (Finnema, Dröes, Ribbe, & Van Tilburg, 2000). These models build upon the dialectical framework of Kitwood (1997) and the Adaptation-Coping model (Dröes, 1991). Kitwood (1997) explains behavior changes in people with dementia as the result of brain degeneration, significantly combined with their personality, life history, health, and interaction with the social environment. The Adaptation-Coping model emphasizes the importance of personality, life history, health aspects, social and material conditions for understanding the person with dementia. A crucial adaptive task for people with dementia is to develop and maintain social relationships in order to maintain an emotional balance (Van der Roest et al., 2007). VCM aims to stimulate contact between the person with dementia and the caregiver, by using theatrical, poetic and musical communication in combination with elements of existing care methods, that is, reminiscence, validation, and neuro-linguistic programming (Bandler & Grinder, 1975; Feil, 1992; Woods et al., 2005). The use of theatrical communication in VCM is based on Keith Johnstone’s ideas of improvisation theatre (1987). The basic principle of improvisation theatre, “saying yes”, is important for people with dementia and is in line with validation, emotion-oriented care and neuro-linguistic programming. People with dementia feel accepted and appreciated by caregivers when they use theatrical communication (Kontos, Mitchell, Mistry, & Ballon, 2010). Poetry can have a therapeutic effect, people understand their feelings better and are better able to communicate about their emotional needs (Leedy, 1969; Zeilig, 2014). The combination of theatrical, poetic, and musical communication with the above-reported care methods is expected to achieve broader effects than the single methods separately (Van Dijk, Van Weert, & Dröes, 2012). Development of the VCM VCM is a modification of the Veder method, in which “living-room theatre performances” are given in day rooms of psychogeriatric nursing home wards, that is, wards where people with dementia live together and receive 24-hr care. VCM and the Veder method for living-room performances intend to improve contact between the caregiver and the resident (http://www.theaterveder.nl/nl/english downloaded at August 16, 2016). As advised by caregivers and managers in the study of Van Haeften-Van Dijk, Van Weert, & Dröes (2015), VCM is specifically developed for integration in 24-hr nursing home care. In contrast with the Veder Method, caregivers do not need to set-up a complete theatre performance, they can apply VCM during daily caring tasks (e.g., during meals, personal care) (Boersma, Van Weert, Van Meijel, Van de Ven, & Dröes, 2017b). Implementation and Evaluation of the VCM Based on the review of Boersma, Van Weert, Lakerveld, & Dröes (2015), indicating that psychosocial methods adapted for use in daily care tend to be more effectively implemented than methods which require additional time and resources, we expected that adaptation of the Veder method into VCM would promote effective implementation of the method in daily nursing home care. The present study focuses on whether VCM was implemented successfully in daily nursing home care and is part of a larger study (Boersma et al., 2017b). We conducted a process analysis to gain insight in the implementation process (Boersma, Van Weert, Van Meijel, & Dröes, 2017a). Present study aims to assess the quality of the implementation of VCM on: (a) The communicative behavior and attitude of professional caregivers. (b) The content of the care plan. (c) The behavior, mood, and quality of life for people with dementia. The theoretical RE-AIM framework is used to evaluate the implementation success of VCM (Glasgow, Vogt, & Boles, 1999). The five constructs of the RE-AIM framework (i.e., Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance) are considered important for effective and sustainable implementation and are suitable for evaluating implementation of psychosocial interventions in nursing home care (Boersma et al., 2015). The research questions in the present study concern the constructs Effectiveness (the effect of VCM on the behavior, mood, and quality of life of the people with dementia), Adoption (caregivers’ communicative behavior and attitude), and Implementation (the way caregivers use VCM in daily care and the content of the care plan) from the RE-AIM framework. We hypothesized that successful implementation of VCM can result in (a) better caregivers’ communicative behavior and more person-centered attitudes towards dementia; (b) increased caregiver awareness regarding the life experiences of the people with dementia, resulting in more personal information about the residents’ lifestyle, life history, and preferences being included in the care plan; (c) less behavioral problems, improved mood, and better quality of life of the residents. Methods Design and Settings We conducted a quasi-experimental study with matched groups. Six wards from four nursing homes implemented VCM, six control wards from the same nursing homes provided Care-As-Usual. Foundation Theater Veder approached nursing home organizations they knew from prior experience with the original Veder method. Within those organizations, only wards who had no experience with the original Veder method were recruited for the current study: of the twelve participating wards some caregivers on one experimental ward and one control ward (in the same nursing home) had previous experience with the Veder method as a “living-room theatre performance.” When an experimental ward agreed to implement VCM, a comparable ward from the same nursing home was recruited by the management of the nursing home. Matching of the experimental and control wards took place on different characteristics: open or closed ward, number of residents, small-scale living or conventional ward living. In one nursing home, no control group could be recruited; this was compensated for by using another nursing home with comparable characteristics (Supplementary Appendix F). The recruited nursing homes were located in different parts of the Netherlands. Implementation of VCM lasted nine months and took place between January 2013 and October 2014. Measurements were carried out at T0 (before implementation) and T1 (nine months after the start of the implementation). Table 1 summarizes the training program and study design. Table 1. Summary of the Study Design Month Experimental group (M = 6) Control group (M = 6) 1 Informed consent procedure Informed consent procedure 2 Pretest Pretest Data collection: Data collection: • Observation residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Residents characteristics and care plan • Caregivers characteristics • Residents characteristics and care plan• Caregivers characteristics• Self-report questionnaire • Self-report questionnaire caregivers 3–9 Implementation VCM in daily care by Foundation Theatre Veder: caregiversApplying care-as-usual 3 • Team meeting • Observation of caregivers with DCM • Feedback meeting outcomes observation DCM with caregivers and staff of the ward 3–5 Three monthly training sessions of 3 hr: 1. Functioning of long-term memory in people with dementia, reminiscing and one-on-one contact. 2. Theatrical communication (intonation and acte de présence); importance of the “saying goodbye” ritual. 3. Theatrical communication (poetic and musical communication); relation with the life history of residents. 6–9 Two 3-hr follow-up training sessions: 4. Repeating the information from the first three monthly sessions and discussing the experiences of caregivers and the reactions of residents when applying VCM 5. Connection is made with the “authentic self” of the caregivers and exercise in how to start up a communication according VCM and related to the life history of residents as described in their care plan. 4–8 Coaching on the job (3 hr) before the second, third and fourth training session 10 Evaluation of the implementation with caregivers and staff 11–12 Post-test Post-test Data collection: Data collection: • Observation of residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Analyzing residents care plan • Analyzing residents care plan • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Implementation score VCM Month Experimental group (M = 6) Control group (M = 6) 1 Informed consent procedure Informed consent procedure 2 Pretest Pretest Data collection: Data collection: • Observation residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Residents characteristics and care plan • Caregivers characteristics • Residents characteristics and care plan• Caregivers characteristics• Self-report questionnaire • Self-report questionnaire caregivers 3–9 Implementation VCM in daily care by Foundation Theatre Veder: caregiversApplying care-as-usual 3 • Team meeting • Observation of caregivers with DCM • Feedback meeting outcomes observation DCM with caregivers and staff of the ward 3–5 Three monthly training sessions of 3 hr: 1. Functioning of long-term memory in people with dementia, reminiscing and one-on-one contact. 2. Theatrical communication (intonation and acte de présence); importance of the “saying goodbye” ritual. 3. Theatrical communication (poetic and musical communication); relation with the life history of residents. 6–9 Two 3-hr follow-up training sessions: 4. Repeating the information from the first three monthly sessions and discussing the experiences of caregivers and the reactions of residents when applying VCM 5. Connection is made with the “authentic self” of the caregivers and exercise in how to start up a communication according VCM and related to the life history of residents as described in their care plan. 4–8 Coaching on the job (3 hr) before the second, third and fourth training session 10 Evaluation of the implementation with caregivers and staff 11–12 Post-test Post-test Data collection: Data collection: • Observation of residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Analyzing residents care plan • Analyzing residents care plan • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Implementation score VCM Note: DCM = Dementia Care Mapping method; VCM = Veder contact method. View Large Table 1. Summary of the Study Design Month Experimental group (M = 6) Control group (M = 6) 1 Informed consent procedure Informed consent procedure 2 Pretest Pretest Data collection: Data collection: • Observation residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Residents characteristics and care plan • Caregivers characteristics • Residents characteristics and care plan• Caregivers characteristics• Self-report questionnaire • Self-report questionnaire caregivers 3–9 Implementation VCM in daily care by Foundation Theatre Veder: caregiversApplying care-as-usual 3 • Team meeting • Observation of caregivers with DCM • Feedback meeting outcomes observation DCM with caregivers and staff of the ward 3–5 Three monthly training sessions of 3 hr: 1. Functioning of long-term memory in people with dementia, reminiscing and one-on-one contact. 2. Theatrical communication (intonation and acte de présence); importance of the “saying goodbye” ritual. 3. Theatrical communication (poetic and musical communication); relation with the life history of residents. 6–9 Two 3-hr follow-up training sessions: 4. Repeating the information from the first three monthly sessions and discussing the experiences of caregivers and the reactions of residents when applying VCM 5. Connection is made with the “authentic self” of the caregivers and exercise in how to start up a communication according VCM and related to the life history of residents as described in their care plan. 4–8 Coaching on the job (3 hr) before the second, third and fourth training session 10 Evaluation of the implementation with caregivers and staff 11–12 Post-test Post-test Data collection: Data collection: • Observation of residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Analyzing residents care plan • Analyzing residents care plan • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Implementation score VCM Month Experimental group (M = 6) Control group (M = 6) 1 Informed consent procedure Informed consent procedure 2 Pretest Pretest Data collection: Data collection: • Observation residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Residents characteristics and care plan • Caregivers characteristics • Residents characteristics and care plan• Caregivers characteristics• Self-report questionnaire • Self-report questionnaire caregivers 3–9 Implementation VCM in daily care by Foundation Theatre Veder: caregiversApplying care-as-usual 3 • Team meeting • Observation of caregivers with DCM • Feedback meeting outcomes observation DCM with caregivers and staff of the ward 3–5 Three monthly training sessions of 3 hr: 1. Functioning of long-term memory in people with dementia, reminiscing and one-on-one contact. 2. Theatrical communication (intonation and acte de présence); importance of the “saying goodbye” ritual. 3. Theatrical communication (poetic and musical communication); relation with the life history of residents. 6–9 Two 3-hr follow-up training sessions: 4. Repeating the information from the first three monthly sessions and discussing the experiences of caregivers and the reactions of residents when applying VCM 5. Connection is made with the “authentic self” of the caregivers and exercise in how to start up a communication according VCM and related to the life history of residents as described in their care plan. 4–8 Coaching on the job (3 hr) before the second, third and fourth training session 10 Evaluation of the implementation with caregivers and staff 11–12 Post-test Post-test Data collection: Data collection: • Observation of residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Analyzing residents care plan • Analyzing residents care plan • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Implementation score VCM Note: DCM = Dementia Care Mapping method; VCM = Veder contact method. View Large Participants The sample consisted of residents with dementia and their professional caregivers. Residents were eligible if they had cognitive problems due to a type of dementia and if they were able to stay in the living-room. Based on expected moderate changes in the indicators of successful implementation (i.e., the outcomes on mood and quality of life of the residents) a power analysis demonstrated that a minimum of eight wards was required, with 64 residents in the experimental group and 64 in the control group (1-β = 0.80, α = 0.05, d = 0.6). The sample size calculation was corrected for clustering of residents within wards, assuming an average number of eight participating residents per ward and an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.05. Given an expected loss of residents during this period of 25% (Koopmans, Ekkerink, & Van Weel, 2003), 86 people with dementia were required in both study groups. All residents from the 12 wards who met the inclusion criteria and for whom informed consent was obtained were included. During team meetings, the managers of the experimental wards informed the caregivers about the implementation of VCM. The principal investigator (P. Boersma) provided oral and written information about the study to all wards teams. All caregivers of the participating wards, that is, nurses, activity therapists, nursing assistants, nursing home hostesses, and permanent volunteers, were included. Ethical Statement Written informed consent was obtained from all legal representatives of participating residents. In a few cases, the legal representative recommended asking the resident him/herself to also sign the informed consent form, which was done on the same form. One resident refused to sign and was not included in the study. Moreover, before the start of each observation, observers introduced themselves to the residents sitting in the living-room, and asked them oral permission to be observed. Only residents whose legal guardians signed the consent forms were observed. Participating caregivers also signed an informed consent form. The study was approved by the Medical Ethical Committee and the Scientific Committee of the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research of the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam (2009/142) (Dutch Trial Register, number NTR4248). Intervention VCM seeks to foster a focused interaction and reciprocity and wants to stimulate joy and lightness in the contact between caregivers and residents (http://www.theaterveder.nl/nl/english downloaded at August 16, 2016). During daily caring tasks, theatrical stimuli are provided to the (sometimes depressed, agitated, anxious, and/or apathetic) people with dementia inviting them to engage in social interaction. VCM follows fixed procedures: (a) greeting by one-on-one contact; (b) communication about the past (connection to long-term memory); (c) communication about the present time (connection to short-term memory), and (d) saying goodbye (Boersma et al., 2017b). By means of a multifaceted training program, all caregivers of the wards (nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, hosts, and sometimes also a volunteer) were trained in applying VCM. The training and coaching program was conducted by trainers of Foundation Theatre Veder and started with a team meeting, in which all caregivers and the team manager participated. Next, the caregivers’ communicative behavior was observed using the Dementia Care Mapping method (Beavis, Simpson, & Graham, 2002), followed by feedback to the caregivers. Subsequently, three training and two follow-up meetings of 3 hr each were offered, with a focus on knowledge improvement, skills training and reflection on the person-centered attitudes. Three coaching-on-the-job sessions took place in the morning before training sessions two and three, and the first follow-up session, in which caregivers received feedback on how they applied VCM. The intervention and implementation strategies are comprehensively described by Boersma et al. (2017b). An example of applying VCM in the living-room: “Every evening nurse M. applies lotion to Mr. H.’s legs because they are so dry. She greets him and asks if he allows her to rub his legs. She knows in his younger years he was a good ice skater. When she starts applying the lotion to his legs, she asks him: Mr. H. how come you have such beautiful athletic legs, did you skate a lot? Mr. H. confirms this and starts talking about skating, and then about how nice it was to skate across the ice with his wife. When the nurse is ready applying the lotion, she asks him “shall we skate together here?” And there they go: he in the front, she behind him, through the living-room. Together they imagine skating over the ice. When they are ready, she thanks him for the beautiful ride and says goodbye.” (M. Lem, personal communication, May 23, 2017) Measures and Procedures Descriptive information was obtained for caregivers’ age, gender, nationality, education, function, working experience, and working hours. For residents, descriptive information included age, gender, education, years living in nursing home, years of illness, type of dementia, cognitive function, and use of psychopharmacological medication. At T0 and T1, caregivers completed two questionnaires to measure attitude and their self-rated ability to work with a care plan. Moreover, at both measurements a content analysis of the resident care plans was conducted. At T0 and T1, both the caregivers’ communicative behavior and the residents’ behavior were observed. Nine trained independent observers carried out the observations. Although blind before the intervention, five observers discovered experimental wards that applied VCM well. Observations were conducted in the living-room, 7 days a week, from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (around coffee/lunch breaks) and from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. (around tea/dinner time). Two observations were obtained per day (total 6 hr) for each of the participating residents, and one observation per day (total 3 hr) for each caregiver. Observation days were randomly selected, and observations for T0 and T1 were carried out on all days of the week and during the same periods. Supplementary Appendix A describes reliability and validity of the measurements used in the present study. Caregivers’ Communicative Behavior and Attitude (Adoption and Implementation Success) Quality of caregivers’ behavior in dementia care (adoption) Caregivers’ communication and behavior was assessed with the Quality of Caregivers’ Behavior in dementia care (QCB), a 25-item observation instrument based on the Dialectical Framework of Kitwood (1997) and adapted by Van Weert et al. (2006). This instrument consists of two subscales and describes a variety of interactions (caregivers’ communicative behavior) that influence the well-being of residents either positively (Positive Person Work [PPW]) or negatively (Malignant Social Psychology [MSP]). Attitude (adoption) Caregivers rated their attitude towards dementia with the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire (ADQ) (Lintern, Woods, & Phair, 2000), indicating on a five-point Likert scale the extent to which they agree with 19 statements regarding the dimensions “hope” and “person-centeredness.” Overall implementation score (implementation success) For each experimental ward, Foundation Theatre Veder rated the overall quality of implementation of VCM at T1 with one score between 0 and 10. This score was based on Theatre Veder’s overall assessment of several criteria, which were not scored separately: attitude of the caregivers during the training, the ability of the caregivers to integrate VCM into daily caring activities, and changed behavior of caregivers. Application of VCM (implementation success) Caregivers’ application of VCM elements and techniques was assessed during 3 hr of observation at T0 and 3 hr at T1 with the “Veder Contact Method-list.” This list was originally developed by Tol, Van Weert, Hermanns, & Dröes (2011) for the Veder method as “a living-room performance” and adapted for VCM in 24-hr care. Examples of items on the list are: “Does the caregiver present herself to the individual resident?”, “Does the caregiver make an effort to retrieve long-term memories from the resident?” and “Does the caregiver use poetry in the communication?” Content of the Care Plan (Implementation) Caregivers rated their ability to work with a care plan on the “Working with a care plan” subscale of the Emotion-oriented Skills in the Interaction with elderly people with Dementia (ESID) (Van der Kooij et al., 2013). The content of the resident care plans was assessed by means of a checklist determining whether the personal preferences of the residents and information about their life history were described with respect to music, social contacts, activities, and personal habits. People With Dementia’s Quality of Life, Behavior, and Mood (Effectiveness) The resident’s quality of life was assessed using the QUALIDEM (Ettema et al., 2007a,b); a 37-item observational instrument including nine subscales (Supplementary Appendix A). The QUALIDEM was validated comprehensively (Ettema et al., 2007a,b) for use with people with dementia, and has been successfully used in nursing home research (Gräske et al., 2014; Ortiz et al., 2014; Van Dijk et al., 2012). Residents’ behavior and interactions were assessed using INTERACT, a 34-item observational instrument on behaviors measuring mood, speech, interaction with others, relating to environment, need for prompting and alertness/inactivity (Baker et al., 2001). Because VCM is a new method we could not exactly predict the items on which an effect was expected, and we therefore chose to use all items. “Overall mood” of residents was assessed with FACE, a three-point Likert scale (☺, , ☹) (Whaley & Wong, 1987). Analysis Data were analyzed with SPSS for Windows version 20. Baseline characteristics of the caregivers and residents were calculated using percentages, means and standard deviations, or median and interquartile ranges, depending on the type and distribution of the data. Differences in baseline characteristics of the experimental and control groups were tested using the chi-squared test or Fisher exact test for dichotomous or nominal variables and the independent samples t test or Mann–Whitney U-test for interval or ordinal variables. The same statistical tests were used to perform a nonresponse analysis between caregivers from the experimental group and the control group who dropped out before post-test, and between the residents who agreed to participate and those who refused or did not respond at all. Finally, the caregivers and residents who dropped out during the study were compared with caregivers and residents who completed the study. Inter-rater reliability (IRR) of the behavior observation instruments were determined by having two observers conduct 44 caregivers’ (19%) and 56 residents’ (22%) observations simultaneously. Mean intraclass coefficients (ICC) were calculated for the subscales of the QUALIDEM, QCB and observation-list “Veder contact method.” An ICC less than 0.40 was viewed as poor, between 0.40 and 0.59 as fair, between 0.60 and 0.74 as good, and higher than 0.75 as excellent (Cicchetti, 1994). Kappa’s (κ) were calculated for the items (INTERACT, FACE); values between 0.21 and 0.40 were considered fair, between 0.41 and 0.60 moderate, and values greater than 0.61 good (Altman, 1990). IRR is described in Supplementary Appendix A. To examine whether changes in means on continuous outcome measures between T0 and T1 differed between the experimental and the control group, a multilevel analysis was carried out taking into account clustering of residents and caregivers within wards. First, only group (experimental or control) was included as a fixed effect in the model. Subsequently the degree of implementation as measured by Foundation Theatre Veder in the experimental group was added as a fixed effect. The cutoff point for a high or low implementation score was set at six points. A random effect for ward and for subjects nested within wards was included in the model. Analyses were corrected for significant differences at baseline between caregivers and residents in the experimental and the control group. Linear mixed models were used for continuous outcomes, and general estimating equations (GEEs) with logit link function for dichotomous and ordinal outcomes. In the linear mixed models, a variance component correlation structure was used and in the GEEs an exchangeable correlation structure was used to take into account the clustering within wards. Post hoc analyses were conducted to compare the changes in the two experimental groups (high and low implementation score) and the control group. The Bonferroni correction was used for multiple testing. Analyses were only performed when the variance of the change between T0 and T1 did not equal zero. A T test was used to calculate the differences between both experimental groups regarding the application of VCM (as measured by the observation list “Veder contact method”) by caregivers at T1. Additionally, a Pearson’s correlation between the difference scores (d) of the subscales of QCB and the Veder list was performed. All statistical tests were conducted two-sided with an α level of 0.05. A p value less than .1 is reported as a tendency to significance. Cohen’s d effect sizes were calculated for the continuous outcome measures. Results Response Of the 212 eligible residents (122 in the experimental and 90 in the control group), 106 received the intervention and 86 received Care-As-Usual. At T1, 78 (63.9%) care plans and 76 (62.3%) behavior and quality of life measurements of the residents in the experimental group were analyzed, versus 61 (67.7%) care plans and 58 (64.4%) behavior and quality of life measurements of the residents in the control group. For 19 residents (10 from the experimental and 9 from the control group), 1 of 4 observations were missing, and for 1 resident in the experimental group, 2 of 4 observations (1 T0, 1 T1) were missing. These residents did not drop out and were therefore included in the analyses. For inclusion, 224 caregivers were eligible (145 in the experimental and 79 in the control group). At T1, behavior observations of 79 (54.4%) caregivers from the experimental group and 57 (72.2%) of the control group were analyzed. Data of 75 (51.7%) caregivers in the experimental group and 36 (45.6%) in the control group were included in the analysis of attitude. A Consort diagram for resident and caregiver recruitment is presented in Figure 1. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Consort diagram detailing numbers of residents and professional caregivers. CAU = Care-as-usual; VCM = Veder contact method. aReceived no contact with legal guardian/bduring observations busy in bedrooms of residents or busy in office with other colleagues, or were not present during observation period. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Consort diagram detailing numbers of residents and professional caregivers. CAU = Care-as-usual; VCM = Veder contact method. aReceived no contact with legal guardian/bduring observations busy in bedrooms of residents or busy in office with other colleagues, or were not present during observation period. Background Characteristics of Caregivers and Residents At baseline, caregivers on the experimental wards were statistically significant educated on a lower level (p = .001), had less working experience with people with dementia (p = .007), and had been working fewer years on the ward (p = .046). These variables were included as potential confounders in the analyses, the adjusted analyses are reported. No significant differences were found in resident characteristics between the groups (Supplementary Appendix B). Implementation of VCM Implementation Scores Foundation Theatre Veder rated ward 2a&b with an implementation score of 4.5. Wards 1a&b and ward 3 received a score of 7.0, wards 4, 5a&b and 6a&b a score of 7.5. Following these implementation scores, the experimental group was divided in two subgroups: E1 with an implementation score of 4.5 (n = 20 residents) and E2 with an implementation score of 7.0 or 7.5 (n = 56 residents). Application of VCM An overall significant difference in change between T0 and T1 was found between the three groups regarding the extent to which caregivers applied elements and techniques of VCM (p = .006). Post hoc analysis (Supplementary Appendix C) showed an improvement in E2 (high implementation score) compared to E1 (low implementation score) (p = .005; d = 0.37), but not compared to the control group (p = .14). The difference in change between T0 and T1 on application of VCM by caregivers between both experimental groups was also significant (p = .002). Caregivers’ Communicative Behaviors and Attitude Multilevel analyses showed a significant overall change between T0 and T1 on positive communicative behaviors (PPW: p = .003). A tendency to an overall significant change between T0 and T1 was found on negative communicative behaviors (MSP: p = .078; see Figure 2). In the post hoc analyses and as shown in Figure 2, caregivers in E2 (high implementation score) showed a significantly greater positive change than E1 (low implementation score) on PPW at T1 (p = .004, d = 0.39). Between T0 and T1, mean PPW increased in E2 and decreased in E1. E2 showed a tendency to a significant positive change compared to the control group (p = .099, d = 0.20). Supplementary Appendix C shows the post hoc analyses of PPW and MSP. Figure 2. View largeDownload slide Subscales Positive Person Work (PPW) and Malignant Social Psychology (MSP) from Kitwood’s dialectical framework (QCB). Figure 2. View largeDownload slide Subscales Positive Person Work (PPW) and Malignant Social Psychology (MSP) from Kitwood’s dialectical framework (QCB). There was no significant overall change of the attitude of the caregivers towards dementia (ADQ) before and after implementation of VCM. No change was found on the total scale (p = .97), neither on the subscales “hope” (p = .24) nor “person-centeredness” (p = .65). The baseline scores of the total scale ADQ and both subscales (“hope” and “person centeredness”) were already rather high at T0 in the experimental and control group and have not changed much at T1 (see Table 2). Table 2. Mean and SD of Total and Subscales of ADQ Experimental group N T0 mean (SD) T1 mean (SD) ADQ total (19–95) 75 76.32 (5.63) 77.70 (7.15) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 75 24.17 (4.05) 25.86 (4.12) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 75 43.61 (3.85) 43.41 (4.07) Control group ADQ total (19–95) 36 78.22 (6.65) 78.97 (8.09) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 36 25.97 (4.35) 26.42 (4.99) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 36 43.67 (3.41) 44.08 (4.18) Experimental group N T0 mean (SD) T1 mean (SD) ADQ total (19–95) 75 76.32 (5.63) 77.70 (7.15) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 75 24.17 (4.05) 25.86 (4.12) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 75 43.61 (3.85) 43.41 (4.07) Control group ADQ total (19–95) 36 78.22 (6.65) 78.97 (8.09) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 36 25.97 (4.35) 26.42 (4.99) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 36 43.67 (3.41) 44.08 (4.18) ADQ = Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire. View Large Table 2. Mean and SD of Total and Subscales of ADQ Experimental group N T0 mean (SD) T1 mean (SD) ADQ total (19–95) 75 76.32 (5.63) 77.70 (7.15) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 75 24.17 (4.05) 25.86 (4.12) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 75 43.61 (3.85) 43.41 (4.07) Control group ADQ total (19–95) 36 78.22 (6.65) 78.97 (8.09) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 36 25.97 (4.35) 26.42 (4.99) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 36 43.67 (3.41) 44.08 (4.18) Experimental group N T0 mean (SD) T1 mean (SD) ADQ total (19–95) 75 76.32 (5.63) 77.70 (7.15) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 75 24.17 (4.05) 25.86 (4.12) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 75 43.61 (3.85) 43.41 (4.07) Control group ADQ total (19–95) 36 78.22 (6.65) 78.97 (8.09) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 36 25.97 (4.35) 26.42 (4.99) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 36 43.67 (3.41) 44.08 (4.18) ADQ = Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire. View Large Correlation Between Caregivers’ Communicative Behavior and Application of VCM A significant positive correlation (r = .722) was found between the subscales positive communicative behavior (PPW) and the Veder list (p = .000); a negative correlation (r = −.318) was found between the subscales negative communicative behavior (MSP) and the Veder list (p = .005). This suggests that the changed behavior of the caregivers could be a result of a different way of working. Content of the Care Plan No significant difference in change from T0 to T1 was found in the care plans on information about the life history of the residents between E2 (high implementation score) and the control group (p = .95). E1 (low implementation score) could not be included in the multilevel analysis of the care plan, because the variance of the change was zero between T0 and T1. Also, no significant difference in overall change between T0 and T1 was found in the care plan with respect to information about the personal preferences of residents (p = .24). Overall significant changes between T0 and T1 were found on three of the 13 items of the subscale “Working with a care plan” (ESID). Post hoc analysis (Supplementary Appendix D) showed that the caregivers of E2 rated themselves significantly higher compared to the control group on the items “Finding it easy to report positive topics for the care plan” (p = .010) and “Discussing and presenting the care plan in the multidisciplinary consultation” (p = .034), but not compared to E1. The caregivers of E2 rated themselves significantly lower in comparison with E1 on item “Reporting psychosocial problems” (p < .0001) and caregivers of E1 rated themselves significantly higher on this item in comparison with the control group (p = .032). People With Dementia’s Quality of Life, Behavior, and Mood Multilevel analyses showed significant overall changes between T0 and T1 on the QUALIDEM subscales “positive affect” (p = .001) and “social relations” (p = .003; Figure 3). Post hoc analysis (Supplementary Appendix E) of both subscales showed that the overall positive change of quality of life was caused by the significantly higher scores of E2 (high implementation wards) compared to the control group (p < .001, d = 0.37 for “positive affect” and p = .002, d = 0.32 for “social relations”). Figure 3. View largeDownload slide Qualidem subscales “positive affect” and “social relations.” Figure 3. View largeDownload slide Qualidem subscales “positive affect” and “social relations.” An overall significant positive change between T1 and T0 was found between the three groups on eleven items of the INTERACT; spoke clearly (p = .020), spoke sensibly (p = .034), talked in normal length sentences (p = .039), appropriate eye contact (p = .030), related well (p = .006), responded to speaking (p = .044), tracked stimuli (p = .028), attentive to activity (p = .009), comments or questions about activities (p = .027), did things on own initiative (p = .026), negativism/complaining (p = .015). Post hoc analyses (Supplementary Appendix E) showed that, with the exception of “negativism/complaining”, the significant overall changes of these items could be explained by the fact that at T1, the scores of E2 (high implementation wards) were significantly higher than the scores of E1 (low implementation ward). On 3 of the 10 items, E2 also scored higher than the control group. On the item “negativism/complaining”, E1 showed a significantly greater change (leading to less negativism/complaining behavior) compared to the control group. The post hoc analyses on this item also showed a tendency to a significant change in E2 compared to the control group. The FACE (Supplementary Appendix E) demonstrated no significant difference in change between T0 and T1 in mood of the residents between the three groups (p = .86). Discussion We investigated the Effectiveness, Adoption and Implementation of VCM, using caregivers’ and residents’ data. Foundation Theater Veder rated five of the six experimental wards with a sufficient implementation score. On these five wards caregivers were better able to integrate VCM in their daily caring tasks and showed more positive communicative behaviors (e.g., recognition, play, making contact) in their interaction with residents, compared to the lower rated ward. Successful implementation of VCM was also reflected in the improvement of certain aspects of quality of life (i.e., positive affect, social relations) and social behavior (e.g., speech, relation with the environment) of the residents. VCM implementation did not improve their mood. There was no evidence that caregivers developed a more person-centered or hopeful attitude towards people with dementia when applying VCM, nor did implementation of VCM result in more information about life history and personal preferences in the residents’ care plans. Below we will discuss our findings in light of the three hypotheses of our study. First, the influence of implementing VCM on caregivers’ communicative behavior and attitudes (adoption). Caregivers from the five experimental wards with higher implementation score showed more “VCM fidelity”, that is, they applied the method more consistently during their daily caring tasks. This was associated with more positive communicative behaviors. Also, after implementation of VCM an overall tendency was observed that these caregivers showed less negative communicative behaviors. Future research with larger samples should determine whether this tendency can be empirically confirmed as an effect of VCM. Caregivers from the ward with a low implementation score showed a decline in positive communicative behavior. These findings confirm the findings of our process analysis (Boersma et al., 2017a). This ward had to deal with organizational problems, which impeded VCM implementation and apparently negatively influenced the caregivers’ communicative behavior. Although not significant, the communicative behavior of caregivers from the control wards improved regarding making more individual contact with the residents. This may have been caused by contamination effects and the “Hawthorne effect” in one nursing home, that is, caregivers may have modified their behavior stimulated by the fact that they participated in the research and possibly heard about experiences with VCM from caregivers of the experimental ward within the same nursing home. Caregivers’ attitude towards people with dementia did not change in any of the three groups. This seems in contradiction with the findings of the process analysis (Boersma et al., 2017a) in which the interviewed caregivers reported they learned a lot in the VCM training and coaching program. A possible ceiling effect (caregivers already scored high at pretest) might explain the absence of further improvements in knowledge and attitude (Smythe et al., 2014). Second, the influence of implementing VCM on the content of the care plan (implementation). The assumption was that application of VCM requires caregivers to know the personal life history and preferences of the residents. In the process analysis (Boersma et al., 2017a) caregivers reported that applying VCM gave them valuable insights into the personal interests and preferences of the residents. In the present study, implementation of VCM did not result in any change in the amount of personal information about the residents’ life history or preferences in their care plans. It is likely that caregivers did not report the obtained valuable insights in the care plan. Broderick & Coffey (2013) reported that nurses in general poorly document personal information of the residents in the care plan. Nevertheless, after VCM implementation, caregivers from the wards with a higher implementation score reported that they found it “easier to report positive topics about the residents in the care plan.” VCM is a joyful method which focuses on having fun with the residents and on opportunities of making contact. Possibly, this stimulates caregivers to report more positive topics of the residents, in contrast with the regular problem-oriented reports. Also, at post-test, caregivers reported that they found it easier to “discuss and present the care plan in the multidisciplinary consultation.” Van der Kooij et al. (2013) also reported considerable changes in how caregivers function during multidisciplinary consultation after the implementation of Emotion-Oriented Care. Surprising results from our process analysis (Boersma et al., 2017a) indicated that VCM improved collaboration with other professionals. Caregivers felt more actively involved in the multidisciplinary meetings and made suggestions on how, for example, difficult behavior of the residents could be handled using VCM. We speculate that successfully trained caregivers changed their focus from the traditional problem-orientated care to a more positive view on how residents can be optimally supported based on the possibilities residents still have. This may explain why the caregivers of the high implementation group scored lower on “reporting psychosocial problems”, as compared to the other groups. The third hypothesis to discuss is the influence of VCM on quality of life, behavior and mood of the residents (effectiveness). It is impressive that the caregivers succeeded in improving several aspects of the residents’ quality of life and social behavior during the intervention period. The review of Anderson, Bird, Macpherson, and Blair (2016) showed also that the way caregivers communicate with and care for residents influenced aspects of their quality of life. Similar to the study of Van Dijk et al. (2012) on the Veder method as “living-room theatre performance”, VCM did not influence the mood of the residents as measured with FACE. Originally, FACE was intended as a self-report scale for residents. In both studies the residents were not able to self-report due to their moderate to severe cognitive decline (GDS score 5.1–5.6), therefore the observers interpreted their mood by their facial expression. The three-point FACE scale (☺, , ☹) might not be sensitive enough to capture a change in mood. In our study the median score of FACE in all groups was the neutral face expression () at both measuring moments. In the previously conducted process analysis, caregivers and their managers reported that applying VCM produced more fun among residents (Boersma et al., 2017a). This qualitative finding gave the impression that VCM positively influences the mood of the residents, which is not supported with FACE. Nevertheless, the positive outcomes on several other aspects of the residents’ quality of life and social behavior showed that the VCM is a valuable alternative to the original Veder Method (Van Dijk et al., 2012). Based on these findings, can we conclude that VCM was implemented successfully? First, Foundation Theater Veder rated the success of VCM implementation on five wards with a sufficient score (7.0 or 7.5) and one ward with an insufficient score (4.5). Next, seven indicators were used to assess the successfulness of VCM implementation. Four of these (caregivers’ communicative behavior, caregivers’ application of VCM, residents’ quality of life and social behavior) showed improvements after VCM implementation. Three indicators showed no changes (caregivers’ attitude towards people with dementia, personal information in the residents’ care plans, residents’ mood). With these outcomes we may conclude that implementation of VCM has been partly successful but there is room for improvement. Strengths of the Study The present study demonstrates that the overall implementation score by Foundation Theatre Veder, a score between 1 and 10, is a simple and adequate method to rate implementation success. The distinction between the experimental groups with high and low implementation scores enabled us to show differences in outcomes. An interesting question for future studies is whether it is advisable to let the “experts of the innovation” (i.e., those who systematically developed and/or professionally implemented the method) give an overall implementation score based on explicit criteria (i.e., caregivers’ attitude during the training, caregivers’ ability to integrate the method into daily caring activities, changed caregivers’ behavior) that can be taken into account in the analyses of the outcomes. In contrast to the study protocol, six instead of eight experimental wards were enrolled, because the number of residents per ward in three nursing homes was higher than estimated in advance. However, this did not influence the power of the study. Because the experimental group was split into two subgroups (high and low implementation score), the post hoc analysis of our study was somewhat underpowered. Different items of the INTERACT and few subscales of the QUALIDEM showed a trend towards significance in the post hoc analyses. With a larger sample size, some of these items/subscales may have shown significant changes. Finally, the observations were carried out by trained, independent observers; interobserver reliability appeared to be satisfactory. Some Limitations of the Study The wards were matched on relevant characteristics, for example, number of residents living on the ward and residential form. Although no differences were found on baseline characteristics, we can be fairly sure the groups were comparable. From the perspective of successful implementation, the nine month duration of the study was too short (Van der Kooij et al., 2013). From the perspective of effectiveness of VCM, the duration of the study was probably a little long. Some short-term effects may have been missed because of the high loss of caregivers and residents. Following the RE-AIM implementation framework (Glasgow et al., 1999), a third measurement should have been carried out 6 months after the last implementation contact. This extended study duration was not feasible because of the high turnover of residents and caregivers in the nursing home care and the limited funding for the study. Next to carrying out observations in the living rooms, in future research it would be worthwhile to also observe caregivers and people with dementia during other daily care moments, for example in the bedroom or bathroom. Conclusions VCM, a theatre-based communication method specifically adapted for 24-hr care, is easily implementable. VCM implementation led on five of the six wards to changes in caregivers’ behavior, indicating a positive impact on the behavior and quality of life of the residents. The present study shows that it is possible to investigate the implementation success of a new person-centered care method in nursing homes. Differences in implementation successfulness were demonstrated by using various types of data collected from caregivers and residents, that is, questionnaires, observations, and analysis of care plans. An evaluation from various perspectives is important to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the implementation. Supplementary Data Supplementary data are available at The Gerontologist online. Ethical Approval The Medical Ethics Committee and the Science Committee of the VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam approved the study protocol under number 2009/142 (Dutch Trial Registration NTR4248). Funding This work was supported by Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Fonds NutsOhra and Health agency VGZ. The funders were not involved in the design, execution, or writing phase of the study. Conflicts of Interest None reported. Acknowledgments This study was conducted in cooperation with twelve wards in four nursing homes. Sincere thanks are owed to all caregivers and people with dementia from these nursing homes who participated in the study. We also warmly thank Foundation Theatre Veder for their contribution to the implementation of VCM in the four nursing homes. Contributions: P. Boersma, J. C. M. van Weert, B. van Meijel, and R. M. Dröes contributed to the study design. P. Boersma collected the data. B. I. Lissenberg-Witte supervised the statistical analyses. All authors discussed the results. P. Boersma wrote the initial draft of the paper. All authors critically reviewed the article and contributed to the writing of the final paper. References Altman , D. G . ( 1990 ). Practical statistics for medical research . London: CRC press . Anderson , K. , Bird , M. , Macpherson , S. , & Blair , A . ( 2016 ). How do staff influence the quality of long-term dementia care and the lives of residents? A systematic review of the evidence . 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Testing the Implementation of the Veder Contact Method: A Theatre-Based Communication method in Dementia Care

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Abstract

Abstract Background and Objectives There is a lack of research on implementation of person-centered care in nursing home care. The purpose of this study was to assess the implementation of the Veder contact method (VCM), a new person-centered method using theatrical, poetic and musical communication for application in 24-hr care. Research Design and Methods Caregivers (n = 136) and residents (n = 141) participated in a 1-year quasi-experimental study. Foundation Theater Veder implemented VCM on six experimental wards and rated implementation quality. Six control wards delivered care-as-usual. Before and after implementation, caregiver behavior was assessed during observations using the Veder-observation list and Quality of Caregivers’ Behavior-list. Caregiver attitude was rated with the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire. Quality of life, behavior, and mood of the residents were measured with QUALIDEM, INTERACT and FACE. Residents’ care plans were examined for person-centered background information. Results Significant improvements in caregivers’ communicative behavior (i.e., the ability to apply VCM, establishing positive interactions) and some aspects of residents’ behavior and quality of life (i.e., positive affect, social relations) were found on the experimental wards with a high implementation score, as compared to the experimental wards with a low implementation score, and the control wards. No significant differences were found between the groups in caregivers’ attitudes, residents’ care plans, or mood. Discussion and Implications The positive changes in caregivers’ behavior and residents’ well-being on the high implementation score wards confirm the partly successful VCM implementation. Distinguishing between wards with a high and low implementation score provided insight into factors which are crucial for successful implementation. Care giving—Formal, Dementia, Nursing homes, Person-centered care With person-centered care (Kitwood, 1997) caregivers can positively influence the mood, behavior, and well-being of people with dementia by taking into account their personal preferences, needs and lifestyle (Brooker, La Fontaine, De Vries, & Latham, 2013). In the last decades, different person-centered care methods, such as validation (Feil, 1992), reminiscence (Woods, Spector, Jones, Orrell, & Davies, 2005), movement activation (Dröes, 1991), and multisensory stimulation (Van Weert et al., 2006) have been developed, implemented, and evaluated. Many studies showed some positive effects on the behavior and quality of life of people with dementia. However, the reported small effect sizes (Livingston et al., 2014) encouraged us to perform additional implementation research. Theoretical Foundation of the Veder Contact Method The Veder contact method (VCM), developed by Foundation Theatre Veder, is a new person-centered method for residential 24-hr care based on emotion-oriented care models (Finnema, Dröes, Ribbe, & Van Tilburg, 2000). These models build upon the dialectical framework of Kitwood (1997) and the Adaptation-Coping model (Dröes, 1991). Kitwood (1997) explains behavior changes in people with dementia as the result of brain degeneration, significantly combined with their personality, life history, health, and interaction with the social environment. The Adaptation-Coping model emphasizes the importance of personality, life history, health aspects, social and material conditions for understanding the person with dementia. A crucial adaptive task for people with dementia is to develop and maintain social relationships in order to maintain an emotional balance (Van der Roest et al., 2007). VCM aims to stimulate contact between the person with dementia and the caregiver, by using theatrical, poetic and musical communication in combination with elements of existing care methods, that is, reminiscence, validation, and neuro-linguistic programming (Bandler & Grinder, 1975; Feil, 1992; Woods et al., 2005). The use of theatrical communication in VCM is based on Keith Johnstone’s ideas of improvisation theatre (1987). The basic principle of improvisation theatre, “saying yes”, is important for people with dementia and is in line with validation, emotion-oriented care and neuro-linguistic programming. People with dementia feel accepted and appreciated by caregivers when they use theatrical communication (Kontos, Mitchell, Mistry, & Ballon, 2010). Poetry can have a therapeutic effect, people understand their feelings better and are better able to communicate about their emotional needs (Leedy, 1969; Zeilig, 2014). The combination of theatrical, poetic, and musical communication with the above-reported care methods is expected to achieve broader effects than the single methods separately (Van Dijk, Van Weert, & Dröes, 2012). Development of the VCM VCM is a modification of the Veder method, in which “living-room theatre performances” are given in day rooms of psychogeriatric nursing home wards, that is, wards where people with dementia live together and receive 24-hr care. VCM and the Veder method for living-room performances intend to improve contact between the caregiver and the resident (http://www.theaterveder.nl/nl/english downloaded at August 16, 2016). As advised by caregivers and managers in the study of Van Haeften-Van Dijk, Van Weert, & Dröes (2015), VCM is specifically developed for integration in 24-hr nursing home care. In contrast with the Veder Method, caregivers do not need to set-up a complete theatre performance, they can apply VCM during daily caring tasks (e.g., during meals, personal care) (Boersma, Van Weert, Van Meijel, Van de Ven, & Dröes, 2017b). Implementation and Evaluation of the VCM Based on the review of Boersma, Van Weert, Lakerveld, & Dröes (2015), indicating that psychosocial methods adapted for use in daily care tend to be more effectively implemented than methods which require additional time and resources, we expected that adaptation of the Veder method into VCM would promote effective implementation of the method in daily nursing home care. The present study focuses on whether VCM was implemented successfully in daily nursing home care and is part of a larger study (Boersma et al., 2017b). We conducted a process analysis to gain insight in the implementation process (Boersma, Van Weert, Van Meijel, & Dröes, 2017a). Present study aims to assess the quality of the implementation of VCM on: (a) The communicative behavior and attitude of professional caregivers. (b) The content of the care plan. (c) The behavior, mood, and quality of life for people with dementia. The theoretical RE-AIM framework is used to evaluate the implementation success of VCM (Glasgow, Vogt, & Boles, 1999). The five constructs of the RE-AIM framework (i.e., Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance) are considered important for effective and sustainable implementation and are suitable for evaluating implementation of psychosocial interventions in nursing home care (Boersma et al., 2015). The research questions in the present study concern the constructs Effectiveness (the effect of VCM on the behavior, mood, and quality of life of the people with dementia), Adoption (caregivers’ communicative behavior and attitude), and Implementation (the way caregivers use VCM in daily care and the content of the care plan) from the RE-AIM framework. We hypothesized that successful implementation of VCM can result in (a) better caregivers’ communicative behavior and more person-centered attitudes towards dementia; (b) increased caregiver awareness regarding the life experiences of the people with dementia, resulting in more personal information about the residents’ lifestyle, life history, and preferences being included in the care plan; (c) less behavioral problems, improved mood, and better quality of life of the residents. Methods Design and Settings We conducted a quasi-experimental study with matched groups. Six wards from four nursing homes implemented VCM, six control wards from the same nursing homes provided Care-As-Usual. Foundation Theater Veder approached nursing home organizations they knew from prior experience with the original Veder method. Within those organizations, only wards who had no experience with the original Veder method were recruited for the current study: of the twelve participating wards some caregivers on one experimental ward and one control ward (in the same nursing home) had previous experience with the Veder method as a “living-room theatre performance.” When an experimental ward agreed to implement VCM, a comparable ward from the same nursing home was recruited by the management of the nursing home. Matching of the experimental and control wards took place on different characteristics: open or closed ward, number of residents, small-scale living or conventional ward living. In one nursing home, no control group could be recruited; this was compensated for by using another nursing home with comparable characteristics (Supplementary Appendix F). The recruited nursing homes were located in different parts of the Netherlands. Implementation of VCM lasted nine months and took place between January 2013 and October 2014. Measurements were carried out at T0 (before implementation) and T1 (nine months after the start of the implementation). Table 1 summarizes the training program and study design. Table 1. Summary of the Study Design Month Experimental group (M = 6) Control group (M = 6) 1 Informed consent procedure Informed consent procedure 2 Pretest Pretest Data collection: Data collection: • Observation residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Residents characteristics and care plan • Caregivers characteristics • Residents characteristics and care plan• Caregivers characteristics• Self-report questionnaire • Self-report questionnaire caregivers 3–9 Implementation VCM in daily care by Foundation Theatre Veder: caregiversApplying care-as-usual 3 • Team meeting • Observation of caregivers with DCM • Feedback meeting outcomes observation DCM with caregivers and staff of the ward 3–5 Three monthly training sessions of 3 hr: 1. Functioning of long-term memory in people with dementia, reminiscing and one-on-one contact. 2. Theatrical communication (intonation and acte de présence); importance of the “saying goodbye” ritual. 3. Theatrical communication (poetic and musical communication); relation with the life history of residents. 6–9 Two 3-hr follow-up training sessions: 4. Repeating the information from the first three monthly sessions and discussing the experiences of caregivers and the reactions of residents when applying VCM 5. Connection is made with the “authentic self” of the caregivers and exercise in how to start up a communication according VCM and related to the life history of residents as described in their care plan. 4–8 Coaching on the job (3 hr) before the second, third and fourth training session 10 Evaluation of the implementation with caregivers and staff 11–12 Post-test Post-test Data collection: Data collection: • Observation of residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Analyzing residents care plan • Analyzing residents care plan • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Implementation score VCM Month Experimental group (M = 6) Control group (M = 6) 1 Informed consent procedure Informed consent procedure 2 Pretest Pretest Data collection: Data collection: • Observation residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Residents characteristics and care plan • Caregivers characteristics • Residents characteristics and care plan• Caregivers characteristics• Self-report questionnaire • Self-report questionnaire caregivers 3–9 Implementation VCM in daily care by Foundation Theatre Veder: caregiversApplying care-as-usual 3 • Team meeting • Observation of caregivers with DCM • Feedback meeting outcomes observation DCM with caregivers and staff of the ward 3–5 Three monthly training sessions of 3 hr: 1. Functioning of long-term memory in people with dementia, reminiscing and one-on-one contact. 2. Theatrical communication (intonation and acte de présence); importance of the “saying goodbye” ritual. 3. Theatrical communication (poetic and musical communication); relation with the life history of residents. 6–9 Two 3-hr follow-up training sessions: 4. Repeating the information from the first three monthly sessions and discussing the experiences of caregivers and the reactions of residents when applying VCM 5. Connection is made with the “authentic self” of the caregivers and exercise in how to start up a communication according VCM and related to the life history of residents as described in their care plan. 4–8 Coaching on the job (3 hr) before the second, third and fourth training session 10 Evaluation of the implementation with caregivers and staff 11–12 Post-test Post-test Data collection: Data collection: • Observation of residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Analyzing residents care plan • Analyzing residents care plan • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Implementation score VCM Note: DCM = Dementia Care Mapping method; VCM = Veder contact method. View Large Table 1. Summary of the Study Design Month Experimental group (M = 6) Control group (M = 6) 1 Informed consent procedure Informed consent procedure 2 Pretest Pretest Data collection: Data collection: • Observation residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Residents characteristics and care plan • Caregivers characteristics • Residents characteristics and care plan• Caregivers characteristics• Self-report questionnaire • Self-report questionnaire caregivers 3–9 Implementation VCM in daily care by Foundation Theatre Veder: caregiversApplying care-as-usual 3 • Team meeting • Observation of caregivers with DCM • Feedback meeting outcomes observation DCM with caregivers and staff of the ward 3–5 Three monthly training sessions of 3 hr: 1. Functioning of long-term memory in people with dementia, reminiscing and one-on-one contact. 2. Theatrical communication (intonation and acte de présence); importance of the “saying goodbye” ritual. 3. Theatrical communication (poetic and musical communication); relation with the life history of residents. 6–9 Two 3-hr follow-up training sessions: 4. Repeating the information from the first three monthly sessions and discussing the experiences of caregivers and the reactions of residents when applying VCM 5. Connection is made with the “authentic self” of the caregivers and exercise in how to start up a communication according VCM and related to the life history of residents as described in their care plan. 4–8 Coaching on the job (3 hr) before the second, third and fourth training session 10 Evaluation of the implementation with caregivers and staff 11–12 Post-test Post-test Data collection: Data collection: • Observation of residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Analyzing residents care plan • Analyzing residents care plan • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Implementation score VCM Month Experimental group (M = 6) Control group (M = 6) 1 Informed consent procedure Informed consent procedure 2 Pretest Pretest Data collection: Data collection: • Observation residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Residents characteristics and care plan • Caregivers characteristics • Residents characteristics and care plan• Caregivers characteristics• Self-report questionnaire • Self-report questionnaire caregivers 3–9 Implementation VCM in daily care by Foundation Theatre Veder: caregiversApplying care-as-usual 3 • Team meeting • Observation of caregivers with DCM • Feedback meeting outcomes observation DCM with caregivers and staff of the ward 3–5 Three monthly training sessions of 3 hr: 1. Functioning of long-term memory in people with dementia, reminiscing and one-on-one contact. 2. Theatrical communication (intonation and acte de présence); importance of the “saying goodbye” ritual. 3. Theatrical communication (poetic and musical communication); relation with the life history of residents. 6–9 Two 3-hr follow-up training sessions: 4. Repeating the information from the first three monthly sessions and discussing the experiences of caregivers and the reactions of residents when applying VCM 5. Connection is made with the “authentic self” of the caregivers and exercise in how to start up a communication according VCM and related to the life history of residents as described in their care plan. 4–8 Coaching on the job (3 hr) before the second, third and fourth training session 10 Evaluation of the implementation with caregivers and staff 11–12 Post-test Post-test Data collection: Data collection: • Observation of residents and their caregivers • Observation residents and their caregivers • Analyzing residents care plan • Analyzing residents care plan • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Self-report questionnaire caregivers • Implementation score VCM Note: DCM = Dementia Care Mapping method; VCM = Veder contact method. View Large Participants The sample consisted of residents with dementia and their professional caregivers. Residents were eligible if they had cognitive problems due to a type of dementia and if they were able to stay in the living-room. Based on expected moderate changes in the indicators of successful implementation (i.e., the outcomes on mood and quality of life of the residents) a power analysis demonstrated that a minimum of eight wards was required, with 64 residents in the experimental group and 64 in the control group (1-β = 0.80, α = 0.05, d = 0.6). The sample size calculation was corrected for clustering of residents within wards, assuming an average number of eight participating residents per ward and an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.05. Given an expected loss of residents during this period of 25% (Koopmans, Ekkerink, & Van Weel, 2003), 86 people with dementia were required in both study groups. All residents from the 12 wards who met the inclusion criteria and for whom informed consent was obtained were included. During team meetings, the managers of the experimental wards informed the caregivers about the implementation of VCM. The principal investigator (P. Boersma) provided oral and written information about the study to all wards teams. All caregivers of the participating wards, that is, nurses, activity therapists, nursing assistants, nursing home hostesses, and permanent volunteers, were included. Ethical Statement Written informed consent was obtained from all legal representatives of participating residents. In a few cases, the legal representative recommended asking the resident him/herself to also sign the informed consent form, which was done on the same form. One resident refused to sign and was not included in the study. Moreover, before the start of each observation, observers introduced themselves to the residents sitting in the living-room, and asked them oral permission to be observed. Only residents whose legal guardians signed the consent forms were observed. Participating caregivers also signed an informed consent form. The study was approved by the Medical Ethical Committee and the Scientific Committee of the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research of the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam (2009/142) (Dutch Trial Register, number NTR4248). Intervention VCM seeks to foster a focused interaction and reciprocity and wants to stimulate joy and lightness in the contact between caregivers and residents (http://www.theaterveder.nl/nl/english downloaded at August 16, 2016). During daily caring tasks, theatrical stimuli are provided to the (sometimes depressed, agitated, anxious, and/or apathetic) people with dementia inviting them to engage in social interaction. VCM follows fixed procedures: (a) greeting by one-on-one contact; (b) communication about the past (connection to long-term memory); (c) communication about the present time (connection to short-term memory), and (d) saying goodbye (Boersma et al., 2017b). By means of a multifaceted training program, all caregivers of the wards (nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, hosts, and sometimes also a volunteer) were trained in applying VCM. The training and coaching program was conducted by trainers of Foundation Theatre Veder and started with a team meeting, in which all caregivers and the team manager participated. Next, the caregivers’ communicative behavior was observed using the Dementia Care Mapping method (Beavis, Simpson, & Graham, 2002), followed by feedback to the caregivers. Subsequently, three training and two follow-up meetings of 3 hr each were offered, with a focus on knowledge improvement, skills training and reflection on the person-centered attitudes. Three coaching-on-the-job sessions took place in the morning before training sessions two and three, and the first follow-up session, in which caregivers received feedback on how they applied VCM. The intervention and implementation strategies are comprehensively described by Boersma et al. (2017b). An example of applying VCM in the living-room: “Every evening nurse M. applies lotion to Mr. H.’s legs because they are so dry. She greets him and asks if he allows her to rub his legs. She knows in his younger years he was a good ice skater. When she starts applying the lotion to his legs, she asks him: Mr. H. how come you have such beautiful athletic legs, did you skate a lot? Mr. H. confirms this and starts talking about skating, and then about how nice it was to skate across the ice with his wife. When the nurse is ready applying the lotion, she asks him “shall we skate together here?” And there they go: he in the front, she behind him, through the living-room. Together they imagine skating over the ice. When they are ready, she thanks him for the beautiful ride and says goodbye.” (M. Lem, personal communication, May 23, 2017) Measures and Procedures Descriptive information was obtained for caregivers’ age, gender, nationality, education, function, working experience, and working hours. For residents, descriptive information included age, gender, education, years living in nursing home, years of illness, type of dementia, cognitive function, and use of psychopharmacological medication. At T0 and T1, caregivers completed two questionnaires to measure attitude and their self-rated ability to work with a care plan. Moreover, at both measurements a content analysis of the resident care plans was conducted. At T0 and T1, both the caregivers’ communicative behavior and the residents’ behavior were observed. Nine trained independent observers carried out the observations. Although blind before the intervention, five observers discovered experimental wards that applied VCM well. Observations were conducted in the living-room, 7 days a week, from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (around coffee/lunch breaks) and from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. (around tea/dinner time). Two observations were obtained per day (total 6 hr) for each of the participating residents, and one observation per day (total 3 hr) for each caregiver. Observation days were randomly selected, and observations for T0 and T1 were carried out on all days of the week and during the same periods. Supplementary Appendix A describes reliability and validity of the measurements used in the present study. Caregivers’ Communicative Behavior and Attitude (Adoption and Implementation Success) Quality of caregivers’ behavior in dementia care (adoption) Caregivers’ communication and behavior was assessed with the Quality of Caregivers’ Behavior in dementia care (QCB), a 25-item observation instrument based on the Dialectical Framework of Kitwood (1997) and adapted by Van Weert et al. (2006). This instrument consists of two subscales and describes a variety of interactions (caregivers’ communicative behavior) that influence the well-being of residents either positively (Positive Person Work [PPW]) or negatively (Malignant Social Psychology [MSP]). Attitude (adoption) Caregivers rated their attitude towards dementia with the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire (ADQ) (Lintern, Woods, & Phair, 2000), indicating on a five-point Likert scale the extent to which they agree with 19 statements regarding the dimensions “hope” and “person-centeredness.” Overall implementation score (implementation success) For each experimental ward, Foundation Theatre Veder rated the overall quality of implementation of VCM at T1 with one score between 0 and 10. This score was based on Theatre Veder’s overall assessment of several criteria, which were not scored separately: attitude of the caregivers during the training, the ability of the caregivers to integrate VCM into daily caring activities, and changed behavior of caregivers. Application of VCM (implementation success) Caregivers’ application of VCM elements and techniques was assessed during 3 hr of observation at T0 and 3 hr at T1 with the “Veder Contact Method-list.” This list was originally developed by Tol, Van Weert, Hermanns, & Dröes (2011) for the Veder method as “a living-room performance” and adapted for VCM in 24-hr care. Examples of items on the list are: “Does the caregiver present herself to the individual resident?”, “Does the caregiver make an effort to retrieve long-term memories from the resident?” and “Does the caregiver use poetry in the communication?” Content of the Care Plan (Implementation) Caregivers rated their ability to work with a care plan on the “Working with a care plan” subscale of the Emotion-oriented Skills in the Interaction with elderly people with Dementia (ESID) (Van der Kooij et al., 2013). The content of the resident care plans was assessed by means of a checklist determining whether the personal preferences of the residents and information about their life history were described with respect to music, social contacts, activities, and personal habits. People With Dementia’s Quality of Life, Behavior, and Mood (Effectiveness) The resident’s quality of life was assessed using the QUALIDEM (Ettema et al., 2007a,b); a 37-item observational instrument including nine subscales (Supplementary Appendix A). The QUALIDEM was validated comprehensively (Ettema et al., 2007a,b) for use with people with dementia, and has been successfully used in nursing home research (Gräske et al., 2014; Ortiz et al., 2014; Van Dijk et al., 2012). Residents’ behavior and interactions were assessed using INTERACT, a 34-item observational instrument on behaviors measuring mood, speech, interaction with others, relating to environment, need for prompting and alertness/inactivity (Baker et al., 2001). Because VCM is a new method we could not exactly predict the items on which an effect was expected, and we therefore chose to use all items. “Overall mood” of residents was assessed with FACE, a three-point Likert scale (☺, , ☹) (Whaley & Wong, 1987). Analysis Data were analyzed with SPSS for Windows version 20. Baseline characteristics of the caregivers and residents were calculated using percentages, means and standard deviations, or median and interquartile ranges, depending on the type and distribution of the data. Differences in baseline characteristics of the experimental and control groups were tested using the chi-squared test or Fisher exact test for dichotomous or nominal variables and the independent samples t test or Mann–Whitney U-test for interval or ordinal variables. The same statistical tests were used to perform a nonresponse analysis between caregivers from the experimental group and the control group who dropped out before post-test, and between the residents who agreed to participate and those who refused or did not respond at all. Finally, the caregivers and residents who dropped out during the study were compared with caregivers and residents who completed the study. Inter-rater reliability (IRR) of the behavior observation instruments were determined by having two observers conduct 44 caregivers’ (19%) and 56 residents’ (22%) observations simultaneously. Mean intraclass coefficients (ICC) were calculated for the subscales of the QUALIDEM, QCB and observation-list “Veder contact method.” An ICC less than 0.40 was viewed as poor, between 0.40 and 0.59 as fair, between 0.60 and 0.74 as good, and higher than 0.75 as excellent (Cicchetti, 1994). Kappa’s (κ) were calculated for the items (INTERACT, FACE); values between 0.21 and 0.40 were considered fair, between 0.41 and 0.60 moderate, and values greater than 0.61 good (Altman, 1990). IRR is described in Supplementary Appendix A. To examine whether changes in means on continuous outcome measures between T0 and T1 differed between the experimental and the control group, a multilevel analysis was carried out taking into account clustering of residents and caregivers within wards. First, only group (experimental or control) was included as a fixed effect in the model. Subsequently the degree of implementation as measured by Foundation Theatre Veder in the experimental group was added as a fixed effect. The cutoff point for a high or low implementation score was set at six points. A random effect for ward and for subjects nested within wards was included in the model. Analyses were corrected for significant differences at baseline between caregivers and residents in the experimental and the control group. Linear mixed models were used for continuous outcomes, and general estimating equations (GEEs) with logit link function for dichotomous and ordinal outcomes. In the linear mixed models, a variance component correlation structure was used and in the GEEs an exchangeable correlation structure was used to take into account the clustering within wards. Post hoc analyses were conducted to compare the changes in the two experimental groups (high and low implementation score) and the control group. The Bonferroni correction was used for multiple testing. Analyses were only performed when the variance of the change between T0 and T1 did not equal zero. A T test was used to calculate the differences between both experimental groups regarding the application of VCM (as measured by the observation list “Veder contact method”) by caregivers at T1. Additionally, a Pearson’s correlation between the difference scores (d) of the subscales of QCB and the Veder list was performed. All statistical tests were conducted two-sided with an α level of 0.05. A p value less than .1 is reported as a tendency to significance. Cohen’s d effect sizes were calculated for the continuous outcome measures. Results Response Of the 212 eligible residents (122 in the experimental and 90 in the control group), 106 received the intervention and 86 received Care-As-Usual. At T1, 78 (63.9%) care plans and 76 (62.3%) behavior and quality of life measurements of the residents in the experimental group were analyzed, versus 61 (67.7%) care plans and 58 (64.4%) behavior and quality of life measurements of the residents in the control group. For 19 residents (10 from the experimental and 9 from the control group), 1 of 4 observations were missing, and for 1 resident in the experimental group, 2 of 4 observations (1 T0, 1 T1) were missing. These residents did not drop out and were therefore included in the analyses. For inclusion, 224 caregivers were eligible (145 in the experimental and 79 in the control group). At T1, behavior observations of 79 (54.4%) caregivers from the experimental group and 57 (72.2%) of the control group were analyzed. Data of 75 (51.7%) caregivers in the experimental group and 36 (45.6%) in the control group were included in the analysis of attitude. A Consort diagram for resident and caregiver recruitment is presented in Figure 1. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Consort diagram detailing numbers of residents and professional caregivers. CAU = Care-as-usual; VCM = Veder contact method. aReceived no contact with legal guardian/bduring observations busy in bedrooms of residents or busy in office with other colleagues, or were not present during observation period. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Consort diagram detailing numbers of residents and professional caregivers. CAU = Care-as-usual; VCM = Veder contact method. aReceived no contact with legal guardian/bduring observations busy in bedrooms of residents or busy in office with other colleagues, or were not present during observation period. Background Characteristics of Caregivers and Residents At baseline, caregivers on the experimental wards were statistically significant educated on a lower level (p = .001), had less working experience with people with dementia (p = .007), and had been working fewer years on the ward (p = .046). These variables were included as potential confounders in the analyses, the adjusted analyses are reported. No significant differences were found in resident characteristics between the groups (Supplementary Appendix B). Implementation of VCM Implementation Scores Foundation Theatre Veder rated ward 2a&b with an implementation score of 4.5. Wards 1a&b and ward 3 received a score of 7.0, wards 4, 5a&b and 6a&b a score of 7.5. Following these implementation scores, the experimental group was divided in two subgroups: E1 with an implementation score of 4.5 (n = 20 residents) and E2 with an implementation score of 7.0 or 7.5 (n = 56 residents). Application of VCM An overall significant difference in change between T0 and T1 was found between the three groups regarding the extent to which caregivers applied elements and techniques of VCM (p = .006). Post hoc analysis (Supplementary Appendix C) showed an improvement in E2 (high implementation score) compared to E1 (low implementation score) (p = .005; d = 0.37), but not compared to the control group (p = .14). The difference in change between T0 and T1 on application of VCM by caregivers between both experimental groups was also significant (p = .002). Caregivers’ Communicative Behaviors and Attitude Multilevel analyses showed a significant overall change between T0 and T1 on positive communicative behaviors (PPW: p = .003). A tendency to an overall significant change between T0 and T1 was found on negative communicative behaviors (MSP: p = .078; see Figure 2). In the post hoc analyses and as shown in Figure 2, caregivers in E2 (high implementation score) showed a significantly greater positive change than E1 (low implementation score) on PPW at T1 (p = .004, d = 0.39). Between T0 and T1, mean PPW increased in E2 and decreased in E1. E2 showed a tendency to a significant positive change compared to the control group (p = .099, d = 0.20). Supplementary Appendix C shows the post hoc analyses of PPW and MSP. Figure 2. View largeDownload slide Subscales Positive Person Work (PPW) and Malignant Social Psychology (MSP) from Kitwood’s dialectical framework (QCB). Figure 2. View largeDownload slide Subscales Positive Person Work (PPW) and Malignant Social Psychology (MSP) from Kitwood’s dialectical framework (QCB). There was no significant overall change of the attitude of the caregivers towards dementia (ADQ) before and after implementation of VCM. No change was found on the total scale (p = .97), neither on the subscales “hope” (p = .24) nor “person-centeredness” (p = .65). The baseline scores of the total scale ADQ and both subscales (“hope” and “person centeredness”) were already rather high at T0 in the experimental and control group and have not changed much at T1 (see Table 2). Table 2. Mean and SD of Total and Subscales of ADQ Experimental group N T0 mean (SD) T1 mean (SD) ADQ total (19–95) 75 76.32 (5.63) 77.70 (7.15) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 75 24.17 (4.05) 25.86 (4.12) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 75 43.61 (3.85) 43.41 (4.07) Control group ADQ total (19–95) 36 78.22 (6.65) 78.97 (8.09) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 36 25.97 (4.35) 26.42 (4.99) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 36 43.67 (3.41) 44.08 (4.18) Experimental group N T0 mean (SD) T1 mean (SD) ADQ total (19–95) 75 76.32 (5.63) 77.70 (7.15) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 75 24.17 (4.05) 25.86 (4.12) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 75 43.61 (3.85) 43.41 (4.07) Control group ADQ total (19–95) 36 78.22 (6.65) 78.97 (8.09) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 36 25.97 (4.35) 26.42 (4.99) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 36 43.67 (3.41) 44.08 (4.18) ADQ = Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire. View Large Table 2. Mean and SD of Total and Subscales of ADQ Experimental group N T0 mean (SD) T1 mean (SD) ADQ total (19–95) 75 76.32 (5.63) 77.70 (7.15) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 75 24.17 (4.05) 25.86 (4.12) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 75 43.61 (3.85) 43.41 (4.07) Control group ADQ total (19–95) 36 78.22 (6.65) 78.97 (8.09) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 36 25.97 (4.35) 26.42 (4.99) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 36 43.67 (3.41) 44.08 (4.18) Experimental group N T0 mean (SD) T1 mean (SD) ADQ total (19–95) 75 76.32 (5.63) 77.70 (7.15) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 75 24.17 (4.05) 25.86 (4.12) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 75 43.61 (3.85) 43.41 (4.07) Control group ADQ total (19–95) 36 78.22 (6.65) 78.97 (8.09) ADQ subscale Hope (8–40) 36 25.97 (4.35) 26.42 (4.99) ADQ subscale Person Centered (11–55) 36 43.67 (3.41) 44.08 (4.18) ADQ = Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire. View Large Correlation Between Caregivers’ Communicative Behavior and Application of VCM A significant positive correlation (r = .722) was found between the subscales positive communicative behavior (PPW) and the Veder list (p = .000); a negative correlation (r = −.318) was found between the subscales negative communicative behavior (MSP) and the Veder list (p = .005). This suggests that the changed behavior of the caregivers could be a result of a different way of working. Content of the Care Plan No significant difference in change from T0 to T1 was found in the care plans on information about the life history of the residents between E2 (high implementation score) and the control group (p = .95). E1 (low implementation score) could not be included in the multilevel analysis of the care plan, because the variance of the change was zero between T0 and T1. Also, no significant difference in overall change between T0 and T1 was found in the care plan with respect to information about the personal preferences of residents (p = .24). Overall significant changes between T0 and T1 were found on three of the 13 items of the subscale “Working with a care plan” (ESID). Post hoc analysis (Supplementary Appendix D) showed that the caregivers of E2 rated themselves significantly higher compared to the control group on the items “Finding it easy to report positive topics for the care plan” (p = .010) and “Discussing and presenting the care plan in the multidisciplinary consultation” (p = .034), but not compared to E1. The caregivers of E2 rated themselves significantly lower in comparison with E1 on item “Reporting psychosocial problems” (p < .0001) and caregivers of E1 rated themselves significantly higher on this item in comparison with the control group (p = .032). People With Dementia’s Quality of Life, Behavior, and Mood Multilevel analyses showed significant overall changes between T0 and T1 on the QUALIDEM subscales “positive affect” (p = .001) and “social relations” (p = .003; Figure 3). Post hoc analysis (Supplementary Appendix E) of both subscales showed that the overall positive change of quality of life was caused by the significantly higher scores of E2 (high implementation wards) compared to the control group (p < .001, d = 0.37 for “positive affect” and p = .002, d = 0.32 for “social relations”). Figure 3. View largeDownload slide Qualidem subscales “positive affect” and “social relations.” Figure 3. View largeDownload slide Qualidem subscales “positive affect” and “social relations.” An overall significant positive change between T1 and T0 was found between the three groups on eleven items of the INTERACT; spoke clearly (p = .020), spoke sensibly (p = .034), talked in normal length sentences (p = .039), appropriate eye contact (p = .030), related well (p = .006), responded to speaking (p = .044), tracked stimuli (p = .028), attentive to activity (p = .009), comments or questions about activities (p = .027), did things on own initiative (p = .026), negativism/complaining (p = .015). Post hoc analyses (Supplementary Appendix E) showed that, with the exception of “negativism/complaining”, the significant overall changes of these items could be explained by the fact that at T1, the scores of E2 (high implementation wards) were significantly higher than the scores of E1 (low implementation ward). On 3 of the 10 items, E2 also scored higher than the control group. On the item “negativism/complaining”, E1 showed a significantly greater change (leading to less negativism/complaining behavior) compared to the control group. The post hoc analyses on this item also showed a tendency to a significant change in E2 compared to the control group. The FACE (Supplementary Appendix E) demonstrated no significant difference in change between T0 and T1 in mood of the residents between the three groups (p = .86). Discussion We investigated the Effectiveness, Adoption and Implementation of VCM, using caregivers’ and residents’ data. Foundation Theater Veder rated five of the six experimental wards with a sufficient implementation score. On these five wards caregivers were better able to integrate VCM in their daily caring tasks and showed more positive communicative behaviors (e.g., recognition, play, making contact) in their interaction with residents, compared to the lower rated ward. Successful implementation of VCM was also reflected in the improvement of certain aspects of quality of life (i.e., positive affect, social relations) and social behavior (e.g., speech, relation with the environment) of the residents. VCM implementation did not improve their mood. There was no evidence that caregivers developed a more person-centered or hopeful attitude towards people with dementia when applying VCM, nor did implementation of VCM result in more information about life history and personal preferences in the residents’ care plans. Below we will discuss our findings in light of the three hypotheses of our study. First, the influence of implementing VCM on caregivers’ communicative behavior and attitudes (adoption). Caregivers from the five experimental wards with higher implementation score showed more “VCM fidelity”, that is, they applied the method more consistently during their daily caring tasks. This was associated with more positive communicative behaviors. Also, after implementation of VCM an overall tendency was observed that these caregivers showed less negative communicative behaviors. Future research with larger samples should determine whether this tendency can be empirically confirmed as an effect of VCM. Caregivers from the ward with a low implementation score showed a decline in positive communicative behavior. These findings confirm the findings of our process analysis (Boersma et al., 2017a). This ward had to deal with organizational problems, which impeded VCM implementation and apparently negatively influenced the caregivers’ communicative behavior. Although not significant, the communicative behavior of caregivers from the control wards improved regarding making more individual contact with the residents. This may have been caused by contamination effects and the “Hawthorne effect” in one nursing home, that is, caregivers may have modified their behavior stimulated by the fact that they participated in the research and possibly heard about experiences with VCM from caregivers of the experimental ward within the same nursing home. Caregivers’ attitude towards people with dementia did not change in any of the three groups. This seems in contradiction with the findings of the process analysis (Boersma et al., 2017a) in which the interviewed caregivers reported they learned a lot in the VCM training and coaching program. A possible ceiling effect (caregivers already scored high at pretest) might explain the absence of further improvements in knowledge and attitude (Smythe et al., 2014). Second, the influence of implementing VCM on the content of the care plan (implementation). The assumption was that application of VCM requires caregivers to know the personal life history and preferences of the residents. In the process analysis (Boersma et al., 2017a) caregivers reported that applying VCM gave them valuable insights into the personal interests and preferences of the residents. In the present study, implementation of VCM did not result in any change in the amount of personal information about the residents’ life history or preferences in their care plans. It is likely that caregivers did not report the obtained valuable insights in the care plan. Broderick & Coffey (2013) reported that nurses in general poorly document personal information of the residents in the care plan. Nevertheless, after VCM implementation, caregivers from the wards with a higher implementation score reported that they found it “easier to report positive topics about the residents in the care plan.” VCM is a joyful method which focuses on having fun with the residents and on opportunities of making contact. Possibly, this stimulates caregivers to report more positive topics of the residents, in contrast with the regular problem-oriented reports. Also, at post-test, caregivers reported that they found it easier to “discuss and present the care plan in the multidisciplinary consultation.” Van der Kooij et al. (2013) also reported considerable changes in how caregivers function during multidisciplinary consultation after the implementation of Emotion-Oriented Care. Surprising results from our process analysis (Boersma et al., 2017a) indicated that VCM improved collaboration with other professionals. Caregivers felt more actively involved in the multidisciplinary meetings and made suggestions on how, for example, difficult behavior of the residents could be handled using VCM. We speculate that successfully trained caregivers changed their focus from the traditional problem-orientated care to a more positive view on how residents can be optimally supported based on the possibilities residents still have. This may explain why the caregivers of the high implementation group scored lower on “reporting psychosocial problems”, as compared to the other groups. The third hypothesis to discuss is the influence of VCM on quality of life, behavior and mood of the residents (effectiveness). It is impressive that the caregivers succeeded in improving several aspects of the residents’ quality of life and social behavior during the intervention period. The review of Anderson, Bird, Macpherson, and Blair (2016) showed also that the way caregivers communicate with and care for residents influenced aspects of their quality of life. Similar to the study of Van Dijk et al. (2012) on the Veder method as “living-room theatre performance”, VCM did not influence the mood of the residents as measured with FACE. Originally, FACE was intended as a self-report scale for residents. In both studies the residents were not able to self-report due to their moderate to severe cognitive decline (GDS score 5.1–5.6), therefore the observers interpreted their mood by their facial expression. The three-point FACE scale (☺, , ☹) might not be sensitive enough to capture a change in mood. In our study the median score of FACE in all groups was the neutral face expression () at both measuring moments. In the previously conducted process analysis, caregivers and their managers reported that applying VCM produced more fun among residents (Boersma et al., 2017a). This qualitative finding gave the impression that VCM positively influences the mood of the residents, which is not supported with FACE. Nevertheless, the positive outcomes on several other aspects of the residents’ quality of life and social behavior showed that the VCM is a valuable alternative to the original Veder Method (Van Dijk et al., 2012). Based on these findings, can we conclude that VCM was implemented successfully? First, Foundation Theater Veder rated the success of VCM implementation on five wards with a sufficient score (7.0 or 7.5) and one ward with an insufficient score (4.5). Next, seven indicators were used to assess the successfulness of VCM implementation. Four of these (caregivers’ communicative behavior, caregivers’ application of VCM, residents’ quality of life and social behavior) showed improvements after VCM implementation. Three indicators showed no changes (caregivers’ attitude towards people with dementia, personal information in the residents’ care plans, residents’ mood). With these outcomes we may conclude that implementation of VCM has been partly successful but there is room for improvement. Strengths of the Study The present study demonstrates that the overall implementation score by Foundation Theatre Veder, a score between 1 and 10, is a simple and adequate method to rate implementation success. The distinction between the experimental groups with high and low implementation scores enabled us to show differences in outcomes. An interesting question for future studies is whether it is advisable to let the “experts of the innovation” (i.e., those who systematically developed and/or professionally implemented the method) give an overall implementation score based on explicit criteria (i.e., caregivers’ attitude during the training, caregivers’ ability to integrate the method into daily caring activities, changed caregivers’ behavior) that can be taken into account in the analyses of the outcomes. In contrast to the study protocol, six instead of eight experimental wards were enrolled, because the number of residents per ward in three nursing homes was higher than estimated in advance. However, this did not influence the power of the study. Because the experimental group was split into two subgroups (high and low implementation score), the post hoc analysis of our study was somewhat underpowered. Different items of the INTERACT and few subscales of the QUALIDEM showed a trend towards significance in the post hoc analyses. With a larger sample size, some of these items/subscales may have shown significant changes. Finally, the observations were carried out by trained, independent observers; interobserver reliability appeared to be satisfactory. Some Limitations of the Study The wards were matched on relevant characteristics, for example, number of residents living on the ward and residential form. Although no differences were found on baseline characteristics, we can be fairly sure the groups were comparable. From the perspective of successful implementation, the nine month duration of the study was too short (Van der Kooij et al., 2013). From the perspective of effectiveness of VCM, the duration of the study was probably a little long. Some short-term effects may have been missed because of the high loss of caregivers and residents. Following the RE-AIM implementation framework (Glasgow et al., 1999), a third measurement should have been carried out 6 months after the last implementation contact. This extended study duration was not feasible because of the high turnover of residents and caregivers in the nursing home care and the limited funding for the study. Next to carrying out observations in the living rooms, in future research it would be worthwhile to also observe caregivers and people with dementia during other daily care moments, for example in the bedroom or bathroom. Conclusions VCM, a theatre-based communication method specifically adapted for 24-hr care, is easily implementable. VCM implementation led on five of the six wards to changes in caregivers’ behavior, indicating a positive impact on the behavior and quality of life of the residents. The present study shows that it is possible to investigate the implementation success of a new person-centered care method in nursing homes. Differences in implementation successfulness were demonstrated by using various types of data collected from caregivers and residents, that is, questionnaires, observations, and analysis of care plans. An evaluation from various perspectives is important to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the implementation. Supplementary Data Supplementary data are available at The Gerontologist online. Ethical Approval The Medical Ethics Committee and the Science Committee of the VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam approved the study protocol under number 2009/142 (Dutch Trial Registration NTR4248). Funding This work was supported by Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Fonds NutsOhra and Health agency VGZ. The funders were not involved in the design, execution, or writing phase of the study. Conflicts of Interest None reported. Acknowledgments This study was conducted in cooperation with twelve wards in four nursing homes. 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The GerontologistOxford University Press

Published: Jan 8, 2018

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