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Effect of stress-based interventions on the quality of life of people with an intellectual disability and their caregivers.

PURPOSE: People with intellectual disabilities often show challenging behaviour, which can manifest itself in self-harm or aggression towards others. Real-time monitoring of stress in clients with challenging behaviour can help caregivers to promptly deploy interventions to prevent escalations, ultimately to improve the quality of life of client and caregiver. This study aimed to assess the impact of real-time stress monitoring with HUME, and the subsequent interventions deployed by the care team, on stress levels and quality of life.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Real-time stress monitoring was used in 41 clients with intellectual disabilities in a long-term care setting over a period of six months. Stress levels were determined at the start and during the deployment of the stress monitoring system. The quality of life of the client and caregiver was measured with the Outcome Rating Scale at the start and at three months of use.

RESULTS: The results showed that the HUME-based interventions resulted in a stress reduction. The perceived quality of life was higher after three months for both the clients and caregivers. Furthermore, interventions to provide proximity were found to be most effective in reducing stress and increasing the client's quality of life.

CONCLUSIONS: The study demonstrates that real-time stress monitoring with the HUME and the following interventions were effective. There was less stress in clients with an intellectual disability and an increase in the perceived quality of life. Future larger and randomized controlled studies are needed to confirm these findings.

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