Volume 17, Issue 4 p. 311-318
Evidence Review

The Effectiveness of Non-Pharmacological Interventions on Apathy in Patients With Dementia: A Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews

Yan Cai

Yan Cai

School of Nursing, Peking University, Beijing, China

West China School of Public Health and West China Fourth Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

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Liyu Li

Liyu Li

School of Nursing, Peking University, Beijing, China

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Chang Xu

Chang Xu

School of Nursing, Peking University, Beijing, China

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Zhiwen Wang

Corresponding Author

Zhiwen Wang

School of Nursing, Peking University, Beijing, China

Address correspondence to Zhiwen Wang, School of Nursing, Peking University, Beijing, China; [email protected]

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First published: 07 August 2020
Citations: 12

Yan Cai and Liyu Li should be considered joint first authors.

This study was supported by Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission (D171100008217007); Peking University Langtai nursing research fund : LTHL18ZD01.

Abstract

Background

Apathy is one of the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), which is the most frequent and can accelerate the progress of dementia.

Aims

To systematically review the evidence of effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions on apathy in patients with dementia.

Methods

Databases including the Cochrane Library, Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Library, PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, CNKI, and Wan Fang Data were searched for systematic reviews of the effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions on apathy in patients with dementia. AMSTAR 2 was applied to assess the methodological quality of reviews.

Results

Nine systematic reviews were included. The average level of overall confidence for included systematic reviews was low. Among all the non-pharmacological interventions involved in this review, the effectiveness of multisensory stimulation, music therapy, cognitive stimulation, and pet therapy was relatively robust. The effects of reminiscence therapy, therapeutic conversation, progressive muscle relaxation, art therapy, exercise therapy, occupational therapy, dementia special care units, nursing staff education, and comprehensive interventions need to be validated further. Meanwhile, the current evidence failed to support the effects of psychomotor therapy and validation therapy on apathy.

Linking Evidence to Action

Non-pharmacological interventions for apathy in patients with dementia are acceptable. In spite of requirements for adequate and high-quality original studies and quantitative systematic reviews to validate the efficacy of non-pharmacological interventions, multisensory stimulation, music therapy, cognitive stimulation, and pet therapy are deemed the most helpful according to evidences available.