BACKGROUND: Care-home residents are mostly inactive, have little interaction with staff, and are dependent on staff to engage in daily occupations. We recently developed an iPad application called the Aid for Decision-making in Occupation Choice (ADOC) to promote shared decision-making in activities and occupation-based goal setting by choosing from illustrations describing daily activities. This study aimed to evaluate if interventions based on occupation-based goal setting using the ADOC could focus on meaningful activities to improve quality of life and independent activities of daily living, with greater cost-effectiveness than an impairment-based approach as well as to evaluate the feasibility of conducting a large cluster, randomized controlled trial. METHOD: In this single (assessor)-blind pilot cluster randomized controlled trial, the intervention group (ADOC group) received occupational therapy based on occupation-based goal setting using the ADOC, and the interventions were focused on meaningful occupations. The control group underwent an impairment-based approach focused on restoring capacities, without goal setting tools. In both groups, the 20-minute individualized intervention sessions were conducted twice a week for 4 months. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Short Form-36 (SF-36) score, SF-6D utility score, quality adjusted life years (QALY), Barthel Index, and total care cost. RESULTS: We randomized and analyzed 12 facilities (44 participants, 18.5% drop-out rate), with 6 facilities each allocated to the ADOC (n = 23) and control (n = 21) groups. After the 4-month intervention, the ADOC group had a significantly greater change in the BI score, with improved scores (P = 0.027, 95% CI 0.41 to 6.87, intracluster correlation coefficient = 0.14). No other outcome was significantly different. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio, calculated using the change in BI score, was $63.1. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that occupational therapy using the ADOC for older residents might be effective and cost-effective. We also found that conducting an RCT in the occupational therapy setting is feasible. TRIAL REGISTRATION: UMIN Clinical Trials Registry UMIN000012994.
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