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1.  Physiotherapy to improve physical activity in community-dwelling older adults with mobility problems (Coach2Move): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:434.
Older adults can benefit from physical activity in numerous ways. Physical activity is considered to be one of the few ways to influence the level of frailty. Standardized exercise programs do not necessarily lead to more physical activity in daily life, however, and a more personalized approach seems appropriate. The main objective of this study is to investigate whether a focused, problem-oriented coaching intervention (‘Coach2Move’) delivered by a physiotherapist specializing in geriatrics is more effective for improving physical activity, mobility and health status in community-dwelling older adults than usual physiotherapy care. In addition, cost-effectiveness will be determined.
The design of this study is a single-blind randomized controlled trial in thirteen physiotherapy practices. Randomization will take place at the individual patient level. The study population consists of older adults, ≥70 years of age, with decreased physical functioning and mobility and/or a physically inactive lifestyle. The intervention group will receive geriatric physiotherapy according to the Coach2Move strategy. The control group will receive the usual physiotherapy care. Measurements will be performed by research assistants not aware of group assignment. The results will be evaluated on the amount of physical activity (LASA Physical Activity Questionnaire), mobility (modified ‘get up and go’ test, walking speed and six-minute walking test), quality of life (SF-36), degree of frailty (Evaluative Frailty Index for Physical Activity), fatigue (NRS-fatigue), perceived effect (Global Perceived Effect and Patient Specific Complaints questionnaire) and health care costs.
Most studies on the effect of exercise or physical activity consist of standardized programs. In this study, a personalized approach is evaluated within a group of frail older adults, many of whom suffer from multiple and complex diseases and problems. A complicating factor in evaluating a new approach is that it may not be automatically adopted by clinicians. Specific actions are undertaken to optimize implementation of the Coach2Move strategy during the trial. Whether or not these will be sufficient is a matter we will consider subsequently, using quality indicators and process analysis.
Trial Registration
The Netherlands National Trial Register: NTR3527.
PMCID: PMC3878551  PMID: 24345073
Physiotherapy; Frailty; Physical activity; Mobility
2.  Determinants for the effectiveness of implementing an occupational therapy intervention in routine dementia care 
A multifaceted implementation (MFI) strategy was used to implement an evidence-based occupational therapy program for people with dementia (COTiD program). This strategy was successful in increasing the number of referrals, but not in improving occupational therapists’ (OTs) adherence. Therefore, a process evaluation was conducted to identify factors that influenced the effectiveness of the MFI strategy.
A mixed-method approach of qualitative and quantitative research was used to evaluate the implementation process. The MFI strategy as planned and as executed were reported and evaluated based on the framework of Hulscher et al. (2003; 2006). Data on OTs attitudes and expected barriers were collected at baseline from 94 OTs using a 19-item questionnaire. Data on the experiences were collected after finishing the implementation using focus groups with OTs and telephone interviews with physicians and managers. For quantitative data, frequencies and correlations were calculated and qualitative data were analyzed using inductive content analysis.
The implementation strategy as executed had a stronger focus than planned on increasing OTs promotional skills due to an initial lack of referrals. This resulted in less attention for increasing OTs’ skills in using the COTiD program as initially intended. At baseline, OTs had a positive attitude toward the program, however, 75% did not feel experienced enough and only 14.3% felt competent in using the program. Focus groups and interviews revealed various determinants that influenced implementation. Most managers were positive about the program. However, the degree of operational support of managers for OTs regarding the implementation was not always adequate. Managers stated that a well-defined place for occupational therapy within the dementia care network was lacking although this was perceived necessary for successful implementation. Several physicians perceived psychosocial interventions not to be in their area of expertise or not their responsibility. All professionals perceived inter-professional collaboration to be a facilitator for effective implementation, and general practitioners were perceived as key partners in this collaboration. However, collaboration was not always optimal. OTs indicated that increasing the referral rate was most effective when promoting OT via other disciplines within a physician’s network.
Our data suggests that a first step in successful implementation should be to make sure that individual and organizational barriers are resolved. In addition, implementation should be network-based and encourage inter-professional collaboration. Initial promotion of COTiD should focus on physicians that have a positive attitude toward non-pharmacological interventions.
PMCID: PMC4226207  PMID: 24195975
Determinants; Barrier; Facilitator; Implementation; Dementia; Occupational therapy; Psychosocial
3.  Errorless learning of everyday tasks in people with dementia 
Errorless learning (EL) is a principle used to teach new information or skills to people with cognitive impairment. In people with dementia, EL principles have mostly been studied in laboratory tasks that have little practical relevance for the participants concerned, yet show positive effects. This is the first paper to exclusively review the literature concerning the effects of EL on the performance of useful everyday tasks in people with dementia. The role of factors such as type of dementia, type of task, training intensity, EL elements, outcome measures, quality of experimental design, and follow-up are discussed. The results indicate that, compared with errorful learning (EF) or no treatment, EL is more effective in teaching adults with dementia a variety of meaningful daily tasks or skills, with gains being generally maintained at follow-up. The effectiveness of EL is highly relevant for clinical practice because it shows that individuals with dementia are still able to acquire meaningful skills and engage in worthwhile activities, which may potentially increase their autonomy and independence, and ultimately their quality of life, as well as reduce caregiver burden and professional dependency. Suggestions for future research are given, along with recommendations for effective EL-based training programs, with the aim of developing a clinical manual for professionals working in dementia care.
PMCID: PMC3775624  PMID: 24049443
dementia; implicit learning; occupational therapy; errorless learning; review; everyday activities
4.  Quality of life in dementia: a study on proxy bias 
Measurement of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in dementia is difficult. At some point people with dementia become unable to meaningfully assess their own HRQoL. At such a point in time researchers need to rely on other types of information such as observation or assessments from informal caregivers (proxies). However, caregiver assessments may be biased by several mechanisms. The current study explores whether caregivers project part of their own HRQoL in their assessments of patient HRQoL.
The participants in the current study were 175 pairs, consisting of community-dwelling persons with dementia and their caregivers. The EQ-5D, the EQ-VAS and the QoL-AD were administered to collect HRQoL measurements from patients and caregivers at baseline, 6 months and 12 months. Two linear mixed models were used to investigate factors that bias proxy ratings, one with the EQ-VAS as dependent variable, and one with the EQ-5D utility as dependent variable. The independent variables were caregiver age, caregiver sex and caregiver QoL-AD items.
The linear mixed model with EQ-VAS as dependent variable indicated that 3 caregiver characteristics, namely caregiver age, money (caregiver’s financial situation) and valuation of life as a whole were significant predictors of the patient-by-proxy VAS scores. The linear mixed model with utility value as the dependent variable showed that caregiver age and valuation of the ability to do things for fun were significant predictors of the patient-by-proxy EQ-5D utility values.
The current study was a first step in identifying factors that bias patient-by-proxy HRQoL assessments. It was discovered that caregivers project part of their own HRQoL onto patients when assessing patient HRQoL. This implies that patient-by-proxy HRQoL values should be interpreted with caution and not be used as a direct substitute for patient self-assessment, even when patients are no longer able meaningfully assess themselves.
PMCID: PMC3844427  PMID: 24011428
5.  Home visits for frail older people: a qualitative study on the needs and preferences of frail older people and their informal caregivers 
The British Journal of General Practice  2012;62(601):e554-e560.
A number of studies have examined the effects of home visits and showed inconsistent results on physical functioning, institutionalisation, and mortality. Despite continuing interest from professionals in home visits for older people, reports on older people’s needs and preferences for such visits are scarce.
This qualitative study aims to explore the views and needs of community-dwelling frail older people concerning home visits.
Design and setting
A qualitative study including interviews with frail older persons and their informal caregivers living in the area of Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with frail older people and informal caregivers. A grounded theory approach was used for data-analysis.
Eleven frail older people and 11 informal caregivers were included. Most participants emphasised the importance of home visits for frail older people. They felt that it would give older people the personal attention they used to receive from GPs but miss nowadays. Most stated that this would give them more trust in GPs. Participants stated that trust is one of the most important factors in a good patient–professional relationship. Further, participants preferred home visits to focus on the psychosocial context of the patient. They stated that more knowledge of the psychosocial context and a good patient–professional relationship would enable the professional to provide better and more patient-centred care.
Patients’ expectations of home visits are quite different from the actual purpose of home visiting programmes; that is, care and wellbeing versus cure and prevention. This difference may partly explain why the effectiveness of home visits remains controversial. Future studies on home visits should involve patients in the development of home visiting programmes.
PMCID: PMC3404333  PMID: 22867679
frail elderly; house calls; patient preference; primary health care
6.  Implementation of an innovative web-based conference table for community-dwelling frail older people, their informal caregivers and professionals: a process evaluation 
Due to fragmentation of care, continuity of care is often limited in the care provided to frail older people. Further, frail older people are not always enabled to become involved in their own care. Therefore, we developed the Health and Welfare Information Portal (ZWIP), a shared Electronic Health Record combined with a communication tool for community-dwelling frail older people and primary care professionals. This article describes the process evaluation of its implementation, and aims to establish (1) the outcomes of the implementation process, (2) which implementation strategies and barriers and facilitators contributed to these outcomes, and (3) how its future implementation could be improved.
Mixed methods study, consisting of (1) a survey among professionals (n = 118) and monitoring the use of the ZWIP by frail older people and professionals, followed by (2) semi-structured interviews with purposively selected professionals (n = 12).
290 frail older people and 169 professionals participated in the ZWIP. At the end of the implementation period, 55% of frail older people and informal caregivers, and 84% of professionals had logged on to their ZWIP at least once. For professionals, the exposure to the implementation strategies was generally as planned, they considered the interprofessional educational program and the helpdesk very important strategies. However, frail older people’s exposure to the implementation strategies was less than intended. Facilitators for the ZWIP were the perceived need to enhance interprofessional collaboration and the ZWIP application being user-friendly. Barriers included the low computer-literacy of frail older people, a preference for personal communication and limited use of the ZWIP by other professionals and frail older people. Interviewees recommended using the ZWIP for other target populations as well and adding further strategies that may help frail older people to feel more comfortable with computers and the ZWIP.
This study describes the implementation process of an innovative e-health intervention for community-dwelling frail older people, informal caregivers and primary care professionals. As e-health is an important medium for overcoming fragmentation of healthcare and facilitating patient involvement, but its adoption in everyday practice remains a challenge, the positive results of this implementation are promising.
PMCID: PMC3470954  PMID: 22894654
E-health; Implementation; Process evaluation; Frail older people; Primary care

Results 1-6 (6)