People with memory problems can struggle with everyday activities. They may stop doing things they want to do. They are more prone to accidents and have a higher risk of falling.

Occupational therapists can advise on how to do daily activities set at the right level, and safely. Physiotherapists can teach exercises, which improve balance, and increase activity, confidence and energy. They may also help maintain memory.PrAISED logo

The best results come from doing exercises several times a week. There is little research on how to make these therapies work for people with memory problems. This study is looking to test three different programmes. These combine activity, advice and exercise, but have different amounts of support from our therapists.

We caught up with Dr Veronika Van Der Wardt from the PrAISED team to find out more about the progress of this study.

What are the main aims of the study?

This feasibility study (this is an initial assessment of the practicality of a proposed full study) is part of the PrAISED research programme and will determine certain factors for the main trial. The aim of the PrAISED research programme is to develop and test a therapy programme that will enable people to stay active and independent with dementia.

The feasibility study will explore recruitment rates and how the therapy programme can best be delivered. We want to know what works best, how useful the support is, and how else we could encourage participants to keep up with the programme. If all goes well, we will adjust the programme for a larger randomised controlled trial, planned for 2018.

What does it involve for a participant?

The participant will be randomised to one of three groups, one involves a lot of support from a therapist (50 visits over one year), and another has moderate support (11 visits over three months, plus 3 telephone calls). The third group is ‘usual care’; standard falls prevention assessment and advice that is normally available from the NHS, with follow-up visits to check progress if thought necessary.

First, we will complete a baseline visit with the participant (and the carer if applicable) and a follow up visit after 12 months. In between, the participant will also be asked to wear a pedometer (at 3 different time points for a week each) and might be asked to participate in an interview. The study will determine if we should go ahead with the main trial.

Where is the study based?

This feasibility study will be based in Nottingham/Nottinghamshire and Derby/Derbyshire and the main trial will later expand to also include Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.

How long is the study for?

The number of visits will vary depending on which of the three groups you have been randomly assigned to but the maximum period that this study will last for will be 12 months.

What do you hope the outcomes of the study will be?

It is hoped that the support provided by this study will prove to be beneficial to health and well-being, including benefits to heart, blood pressure, diabetes, joints, mood and daily life. In addition, those who participate in the study might be better able to do daily activities and enjoy having researchers and therapists coming to visit.

two-people-discussing (1)

You can see if you are eligible for this study, as well as others around the nation, by logging into your Join Dementia Research account.

Not registered with Join Dementia Research? Why not sign up today?