The MARQUE (Managing Agitation and Raising Quality of Life) study aimed to improve understanding of agitation in care homes, and the quality of life of people with dementia, through an evidence-based training intervention for care home staff. This cluster-randomised control trial, led by researchers at UCL, ran across 10 care homes in England. They found that this intervention improved quality of life, and was feasible and cost-effective for this purpose.
The MARQUE intervention consists of a number of components including a game to get to know residents’ preferences and interests (Call-to-Mind); a technique to investigate causes of residents’ agitation, propose solutions and record outcomes of those interventions (called Describe, Investigate, Create, Evaluate or DICE); a focus on introducing activities the residents enjoyed; improved communication between staff; and relaxation techniques for staff.
This project aimed to develop this study further, to find out if improvements from the intervention were sustainable over a longer-term period. It aimed to find out whether there was continued implementation of the intervention strategies that staff had learned and, therefore, the intervention had long term effects to increase quality of life.
Researchers conducted qualitative, face-to-face interviews with care home staff from the original study, 2 years on. Twenty-eight staff participated from across 7 of the 10 care homes. The staff interviewed varied across roles including carers, managers, nurses and activity coordinators.
The intervention was originally intended to be tested across a wider group of care homes, but the COVID-19 pandemic made this impossible. The research team hopes that, with the easing of COVID restrictions, the planned roll-out can restart.