Comparison of the effectiveness of two protocols for treating nursing home residents with advanced dementia

Aurora Affiliations

Endocrine Research Laboratory, Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center


The Serial Trial Intervention (STI) is a decision support tool to address the problem of underassessment and undertreatment of pain and other unmet needs of people with dementia. This study compared the effectiveness of the 5-step and 9-step versions of the STI using a two-group repeated measures quasi-experimental design with randomization of 12 matched nursing homes. The sample consisted of 125 residents with moderate to severe dementia. Both the 5- and 9-step STIs significantly decreased discomfort and agitation from pre- to posttest (effect sizes = 0.45 to 0.90). The 9-step version was more effective for comorbid burden and increased cortisol slope (effect sizes = 0.50 and 0.49). Process variables were all statistically significantly improved using the 9-step STI. Nurse time was not different between the two groups. The clinical decision support rules embedded in the STI, particularly the 9-step version, helped nurses change practice and improved resident outcomes.

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