OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effectiveness of the SPAN-intervention, a psychosocial intervention aiming at improving a sense of usefulness and engaging in meaningful activities, for community-dwelling people living with young-onset dementia (YOD) and their family caregivers.
METHODS: A cluster-randomized controlled trial with two parallel groups (SPAN-intervention vs. care as usual) with assessments at baseline and five-month follow-up was performed. Sixty-one persons living with YOD and their family caregivers were included (SPAN-intervention group: n = 35; care as usual group: n = 26). Outcomes included, for the person living with YOD, empowerment (operationalized by self-management abilities using the SMAS-30; primary outcome), quality of life, neuropsychiatric symptoms, disability, apathy; and, for the family caregiver, quality of life, emotional distress, sense of competence. Data were analyzed using linear mixed models.
RESULTS: We found no statistically significant effects of the SPAN-intervention on empowerment, nor on the secondary outcome measures for persons living with YOD or their family caregivers.
CONCLUSION: Although the SPAN-intervention may provide concrete opportunities to engage in activities and stimulate reciprocity, such as meaningful social activities, this study did not demonstrate intervention effects. Additional qualitative evaluations may provide more insight into the implementation process and experiences of people living with YOD and their family caregivers.
- family caregivers
- psychosocial support
- young-onset dementia