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Cognitive functioning and quality of life: Diverging views of older adults with Alzheimer and professional care staff

Dewitte, Laura (KU Leuven—University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium ) ; Vandenbulcke, Mathieu (KU Leuven—University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium ) ; Dezutter, Jessie (KU Leuven—University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium ) ;
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    Objective Staff ratings of quality of life (QOL) in dementia are often lower and more strongly related to the cognitive functioning of the person with dementia than self‐ratings. However, cognition‐related items in QOL measures and limited cognitive screening measures hamper a clear understanding of the relationship, 2 issues we addressed in the current study. Methods We collected data of 88 pairs of older adults with Alzheimer disease and their professional caregivers in 9 residential care settings. Both self‐report and staff report of the QOL of residents were assessed with the Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease. Cognitive functioning was assessed with the Mini‐Mental State Examination and a battery of specific cognitive measures. Results Intraclass correlations and a paired sample t test confirmed a discrepancy between self‐rating and staff rating, with staff significantly underestimating QOL as experienced by the resident. After removing the possibly confounding memory item of the Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease, Mini‐Mental State Examination score remained a significant predictor of staff ratings but not self‐ratings in regression analyses. Exploratory analyses of specific cognitive measures showed a significant contribution of a memory test of intentional visual association learning in the prediction of staff‐rated QOL. Conclusions Staff reports cannot simply substitute reports of the subjective experience of residents with Alzheimer, so both judgments should be taken into account to form an adequate picture of QOL. Staff might be guided more strongly by a cognitive point of view when evaluating QOL of residents with Alzheimer disease, while the latter might have shifted their evaluation standards to cope adequately with the challenges posed by their disease.


  • 주제어

    Alzheimer .   cognitive functioning .   quality of life .   residential care .   staff report.  

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