Researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands compared the cost effectiveness of community-based occupational therapy (OT) to usual care in older patients with dementia and their caregivers.

First, the details.

  • 135 community dwelling elderly patients with mild to moderate dementia participated with their primary caregivers.
  • They were randomly assigned to 5 weeks (10 sessions) of OT or a usual care control group.
    • During the first 4 sessions, they defined their problems and choose and prioritize activities they wanted to improve.
    • Thereafter, patients were taught to improve their performance of daily activities.

And, the results.

  • The average costs per patient and caregiver for 3 months were €12,563 (£8994, $18,433) in the OT group vs €14,311 (£10,246, $20,998) for usual care.
  • On average, it saved €1748 (£1279, $2641) over 3 months, with significant and clinically relevant improvements in daily functioning in patients and sense of competence in caregivers.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded that “From a societal viewpoint community OT is an effective and efficient intervention strategy.”

The results complement an earlier study from the Netherlands in which “OT improved patients’ daily functioning and reduced the burden on the caregiver, despite the patients’ limited learning ability.”

The benefits in daily functioning and reduced caregiver burden were still present at 12 weeks.

3/21/08 22:31 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.