Abstract

A Computer-Assisted Errorless Learning-Based Memory Training Programme for Patients with Early Dementia

Author(s): Grace YY Lee, CK Yip, Edwin CS Yu, David WK Man

Background

Memory training can be effective in enhancing the cognitive function of older adults with cognitive impairment and may delay the onset of dementia.

Objective

The aims of this study were to develop a theory-driven, computer-assisted errorless learning (EL) memory programme (CELP) for patients with early dementia, and to compare the training outcomes of a CELP group with those of a therapist-led errorless learning training programme (TELP) group and a control group (CG).

Methods

A randomized control trial (RCT) with a single-blind research design was adopted. The Clinical Dementia Rating Scale (CDR) screened older participants with early dementia and their performances were evaluated before and after the intervention and during 3-month followup by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Dementia Rating Scale (DRS), Hong Kong List Learning Test (HKLLT), brief Assessment of Prospective Memory-Short Form (BAPM) for carers and Geriatric Depression Scale.

Results

Seventy-five participants were successfully recruited into the CELP group (n=30), TELP group (n=22) and CG (n=23) and completed the study. Participants showed statistically significant improvements in post-test scores for the DRS total score and its memory sub-score, with greater improvement in the CELP group than the TELP group and CG. Significant positive changes in the HKLLT immediate recall sub score, the MMSE and the BAPM were also found in the CELP group.

Conclusion

Computer-assisted EL can be an effective strategy to enhance the memory function of those with early dementia. Their encoding problems, working memory, executive function and prospective memory function can be improved by a CELP intervention. Having regular cognitive training or a home programme might maintain their cognitive functions.


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