Quality of life in dementia: a 2-year follow-up study

Pierre Missotten, Michel Ylieff, David Di Notte, Louis Paquay, Jan De Lepeleire, Frank Buntinx, Ovide Fontaine
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2007, 22 (12): 1201-7

OBJECTIVES: To examine the evolution of quality of life (QOL) in demented subjects at base-line, one and 2 years later and to determine clinical variables associated with QOL.

METHOD: Longitudinal study of a cohort of 127 subjects living at home or in a long-term care institution. A QOL measure (Alzheimer Disease Related Quality of Life; ADRQL) was administered three times. In addition, several clinical instruments (MMSE, IADL, ADL and CDR/M) were also administered.

RESULTS: ADRQL data analysis did not reveal significant modifications of QOL over the 2-year period, whereas results from clinical instruments showed a significant deterioration. On the group, the variations of ADRQL scores were limited, with some improvement after the first year followed by some deterioration after the second year. On the other hand, ADRQL scores fluctuated every year by at least 10 points for more than 50% of subjects. With dementia evolution, it was observed that the clinical variables were more strongly correlated with ADRQL scores and were more significant predictors. This varied from 5.9% (MMSE) in 2002 to 40.01% in 2004 (MMSE and CDR/M).

CONCLUSIONS: QOL did not develop in a strictly linear manner following the deterioration of clinical state. This suggests that the evolution of QOL is also determined by other variables relating to the physical and social environment of the patients. Their role seems particularly important for the mild to moderate stages of dementia.

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