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A stimulation-retreat special care unit for elders with dementing illness

Contact Information




Two equivalent special care nursing home units for elders with dementing illness were randomly designated as experimental and control units for an intervention called the "stimulation-retreat" model. This model introduced a set of staffing and program changes whose purpose was to diagnose, prescribe, and apply a package of care according to individual needs for additional stimulation or relief from stimulation ("retreat"). A total of 49 experimental and 48 control unit residents completed 12 months of care and were evaluated at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months. It was hypothesized that the intervention would not affect the basic disability (cognitive and activities of daily living functions), would improve negative behaviors and observed affects, and would have maximum impact in increasing positive behaviors and affects. Over time, most functions worsened, including negative attributes and affects. Lesser decline in positive affect and increases in external engagement, however, led to the conclusion that the intervention showed a marginally significant and selective effect on positive behaviors and affect.


Lawton, M. P., Van Haitsma, K., Klapper, J., Kleban, M. H., Katz, I. R., & Corn, J. (1998). A stimulation-retreat special care unit for elders with dementing illness. International psychogeriatrics, 10(4), 379–395.





Conent Area

M P Lawton

EWB-Related Construct

(3) Positive Affect

Study Design

Species or Study Population

(5) RCT

Sex (%Female)

not stated

Age (Mean, SD)

not stated

Younger Controls?


Longitudinal Data?


Sample Size



simulation and retreat intervention

Ethnicity (%white)

not stated

Inclusion Criteria

Residents who remained a minimum of 6 months (i.e., received a baseline and a first posttreatment assessment) were retained as subjects, although only those who were treated for 12 months are included in this report. All new admissions over a period of 30 months were entered into the study.

Exclusion Criteria

No resident transferred between experimental and control units.

EWB Measures

Apparent Affect Rating Scale

Non-EWB Behavioral

The Global Deterioration Scale
Physical Sel-Maintenance Scale
Daily Activity Living Scale
Behavioral Pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease scale
Cohen Mansfield Agitation Inventory
Multidimensional Observation Scale for Elderly Subjects
Behavior Rating Scale
Therapeutic Recreation Specialists

Physiological Measures


Brain IMaging Modality

Brain IMaging Paradigm


Brain Region/Circuit


Biological Measures


Other Neural Measures

Data Availability?


Data Avalability Details


Diagnostic Measures

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