This article was originally posted on NIHR website.

A large scale NIHR-funded trial shows that increasing the amount of social interaction for people with dementia living in care homes to just one hour a week improves quality of life and saves money.

During the study key care home staff were upskilled to deliver person-centred care. This involved simple measures such as talking to residents about their interests and involving them in decisions around their own care. When combined with just one hour a week of social interaction, the programme improved quality of life and reduced agitation and aggression in people with dementia.

The challenge now is to roll the programme out to the 28,000 care homes in the UK to benefit the lives of the 300,000 people with dementia living in these facilities.

The results, published today in the journal PLOS Medicine, are the findings of the Improving Wellbeing and Health for People with Dementia (WHELD) trial – the largest non-pharmacological randomised control trial in people with dementia living in care homes to date – funded by the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) Programme.