Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Improving person-centred care in nursing homes through dementia-care mapping: design of a cluster-randomised controlled trial

Geertje van de Ven1*, Irena Draskovic1, Eddy MM Adang2, Rogier ART Donders2, Aukje Post3, Sytse U Zuidema1, Raymond TCM Koopmans1 and Myrra JFJ Vernooij-Dassen145

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, 117 ELG, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

2 Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and HTA, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, 113 EBH, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

3 Dementia-care mapping, The Netherlands, De Friese Wouden, P.O. Box 215, 9250 AE Burgum, The Netherlands

4 Scientific Institute for Quality of Healthcare, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, 114 IQ healthcare, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

5 Kalorama Foundation, Postbus 85, 6573 ZH Beek-Ubbergen, The Netherlands

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BMC Geriatrics 2012, 12:1  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-12-1

Published: 3 January 2012



The effectiveness and efficiency of nursing-home dementia care are suboptimal: there are high rates of neuropsychiatric symptoms among the residents and work-related stress among the staff. Dementia-care mapping is a person-centred care method that may alleviate both the resident and the staff problems. The main objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of dementia-care mapping in nursing-home dementia care.


The study is a cluster-randomised controlled trial, with nursing homes grouped in clusters. Studywise minimisation is the allocation method. Nursing homes in the intervention group will receive a dementia-care-mapping intervention, while the control group will receive usual care. The primary outcome measure is resident agitation, to be assessed with the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory. The secondary outcomes are resident neuropsychiatric symptoms, assessed with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory - Nursing Homes and quality of life, assessed with Qualidem and the EQ-5D. The staff outcomes are stress reactions, job satisfaction and job-stress-related absenteeism, and staff turnover rate, assessed with the Questionnaire about Experience and Assessment of Work, the General Health Questionnaire-12, and the Maastricht Job Satisfaction Scale for Health Care, respectively. We will collect the data from the questionnaires and electronic registration systems. We will employ linear mixed-effect models and cost-effectiveness analyses to evaluate the outcomes. We will use structural equation modelling in the secondary analysis to evaluate the plausibility of a theoretical model regarding the effectiveness of the dementia-care mapping intervention. We will set up process analyses, including focus groups with staff, to determine the relevant facilitators of and barriers to implementing dementia-care mapping broadly.


A novelty of dementia-care mapping is that it offers an integral person-centred approach to dementia care in nursing homes. The major strengths of the study design are the large sample size, the cluster-randomisation, and the one-year follow-up. The generalisability of the implementation strategies may be questionable because the motivation for person-centred care in both the intervention and control nursing homes is above average. The results of this study may be useful in improving the quality of care and are relevant for policymakers.

Trial registration

The trial is registered in the Netherlands National Trial Register: NTR2314.