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Snoezelen, structured reminiscence therapy and 10-minutes activation in long term care residents with dementia (WISDE): study protocol of a cluster randomized controlled trial

Almuth Berg1*, Katharina Sadowski1, Melanie Beyrodt1, Stephanie Hanns2, Markus Zimmermann3, Gero Langer1, Christiane Becker1, Christine Lautenschläger4 and Johann Behrens1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Health Care and Nursing Studies, Medical Faculty, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

2 Department of Medical Psychology, University of Leipzig, Germany

3 Institute of Public Health and Nursing Science, University of Bremen, Germany

4 Institute of Medical Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Informatics, Medical Faculty, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

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BMC Geriatrics 2010, 10:5  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-10-5

Published: 31 January 2010



People with dementia are often inapproachable due to symptoms of their illness. Therefore nurses should establish relationships with dementia patients via their remaining resources and facilitate communication. In order to achieve this, different targeted non-pharmacological interventions are recommended and practiced. However there is no sufficient evidence about the efficacy of most of these interventions. A number of publications highlight the urgent need for methodological sound studies so that more robust conclusions may be drawn.


The trial is designed as a cluster randomized controlled trial with 20 nursing homes in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt (Germany) as the units of randomization. Nursing homes will be randomly allocated into 4 study groups consisting of 5 clusters and 90 residents: snoezelen, structured reminiscence therapy, 10-minutes activation or unstructured verbal communication (control group). The purpose is to determine whether the interventions are effective to reduce apathy in long-term care residents with dementia (N = 360) as the main outcome measure. Assessments will be done at baseline, 3, 6 and 12 months after beginning of the interventions.


This trial will particularly contribute to the evidence on efficacy of non-pharmacological interventions in dementia care.

Trial Registration NCT00653731