NIHR: The WHELD programme for people with dementia helps care home staff deliver person-centred care

NIHR |  December 2020 | The WHELD programme for people with dementia helps care home staff deliver person-centred care

An evidence-based programme for care home residents living with dementia improved their quality of life and reduced agitation and other symptoms of dementia. A major study across the UK found that the Well-being and Health for People Living with Dementia (WHELD) programme was effective and cost less to deliver than usual care.

The research design of this study employed a large randomised clinical trial, the involvement of 69 care homes and participation of 847 residents, over a 9 month period. The experts aimed to to determine if training in person-centred care could be enhanced through review of antipsychotic prescriptions, promotion of social interaction/personalised activities or exercise. Combining personalised activities with a review of antipsychotic medication led to reduction in antipsychotic use by a half as well as a significant improvement in some aspects of quality of life for residents with dementia. There was also a significant reduction in mortality. There were improvements in symptoms of agitation among people receiving the exercise intervention.

.The results demonstrated benefits in quality of life, a reduction in agitation and improvement in quality of care for re

The researchers report that for care home residents with dementia, involvement in the programme led to:

  • significant benefits in quality of life
  • a reduction in agitation
  • a reduction in neuropsychiatric symptoms such as depression
  • improvement in quality of care, with residents experiencing fewer emergency hospital admissions and fewer GP visits.

The researchers behind this study have also secured further funding from NIHR to develop a COVID-specific version of the WHELD programme. This will use virtual coaching and use digital platforms to share best practice between staff and managers of different care homes (Source: NIHR)

The primary paper is available from NIHR

More information about the WHELD programme is available from its website Help us Shape the Future of Care

Video about the WHELD programme, including interviews with care home staff.

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