Occupation-focused and occupation-based interventions for community-dwelling older people : Intervention effects in relation to facets of occupational engagement and cost effectiveness

Sammanfattning: Background Occupation-focused and occupation-based interventions can potentially promote occupational engagement among community-dwelling older people, but there is limited evidence to identify the most effective and cost-effective interventions. For independent-living older people, there is a lack of evidence to determine if occupation-focused and occupation-based interventions have an effect on their occupational engagement. For older people who need assistance because of bathing disabilities, there is limited evidence of the effects of occupation-focused and occupation-based interventions on their occupational engagement or for reducing or omitting their need for assistance. Finally, there is limited evidence to determine if occupation-focused and occupation-based interventions implemented for community-dwelling older people are cost effective.AimThe aim of this thesis was to evaluate the effects and cost effectiveness of occupation-focused and occupation-based interventions for two groups of community-dwelling older people, independent-living, community-dwelling older people and older people with bathing disabilities.MethodStudies I and II were based on an exploratory randomized controlled trial. One hundred and seventy seven persons, 77–82 years, single living, and without need for home help were randomized to a no-intervention control group or to one of three occupational therapy interventions focused on promoting occupational engagement: an individual intervention, an activity group or a discussion group. In study I, effect sizes for leisure engagement and ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL) tasks were estimated for each intervention in relation to the control group to identify the most effective intervention at 3 and 12 months after baseline. In study II, the effects on quality adjusted life years (QALYs) and the total costs for the intervention, social services provided by the municipality and health care were used evaluate cost-effectiveness.Study III was a quasi-experimental clinical trial and included 95 persons, 65+, who had applied for municipality-based home help with bathing. For participants in the intervention group, occupational therapists implemented occupation-focused and occupation-based interventions. No occupational therapy intervention was implemented for those in the control group, but they were allocated home help services if judged to need it based on an assessment by a municipality care manager. Evaluations of ADL ability, self-rated health and allocated home help were implemented at baseline and after 15 weeks.Study IV involved the use of decision-modeling based on a five state Markov model that included levels of dependency in ADLs, place of residency and death. Probabilities for transitions between states in the model, QoL scores and societal costs for each state were derived from previous research. Overall, the model was based on research indicating that more severe levels of dependency reduced QALY scores and increased societal costs. Previous trials have provided evidence that an occupation-focused and occupation-based intervention implemented to reduce bathing disabilities increased the probability of independence of home help. The Markov model was used to evaluate cost-effectiveness over 8 years for an intervention compared to no intervention.ResultsThe results of study I indicated that each intervention had a small positive effect on minimizing a decline in leisure engagement and/or ADL, but no intervention was clearly superior. In study II, the results indicated that the interventions delivered in a group format positively affected self-rated health. The discussion group was the most cost-effective intervention. The results of study III indicated that the intervention had no effect on ADL ability or self-rated health. There was, however, a large difference in the allocation of home help at follow up, indicating that the intervention was effective in reducing dependency on home help for bathing. The results of study IV indicated that compared to no intervention, the intervention resulted in a positive accumulation of QALYs and lower costs for every year during the entire 8 year period.ConclusionThis thesis provides evidence to support the implementation of occupation-focused and occupation-based interventions for independent-living, community-dwelling older people in order to reduce their decline in occupational engagement and improve their self-rated health; the interventions also have the potential to be cost effective. This thesis also provides evidence that an occupation-focused and occupation-based intervention implemented for older people with bathing disabilities was effective in promoting independence from home help for bathing. Finally, an occupation-focused and occupation-based intervention that increased the probability of being independent of home help for bathing had a positive impact on the long term accumulation of QALYs and reduced societal costs and, therefore, can be considered very cost effective.