Background: The main objective of care for people with dementia is the maintenance and promotion of quality of life (Qol). Most of the residents in nursing homes have challenging behaviors that strongly affect their Qol. Person-centered care (PCC) is an approach that aims to achieve the best possible Qol and to reduce challenging behaviors. Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) is a method of implementing PCC that has been used in Germany for several years. However, there are no data on the effectiveness of DCM or the challenges of implementation of DCM in German nursing homes. Methods/design: In this quasi-experimental non-randomized cluster-controlled study, the effects of DCM will be compared to 2 comparison groups. 9 nursing homes will take part: 3 will implement DCM, 3 will implement a comparison intervention using an alternative Qol assessment, and 3 have already implemented DCM. The main effect outcomes are Qol, challenging behaviors, staff attitudes toward dementia, job satisfaction and burnout of caregivers. These outcomes will be measured on 3 data points. Different quantitative and qualitative data sources will be collected through the course of the study to investigate the degree of implementation as well as facilitators of and barriers to the implementation process. Discussion: This study will provide new information about the effectiveness of DCM and the implementation process of DCM in German nursing homes. The study results will provide important information to guide the national discussion about the improvement of dementia-specific Qol, quality of care in nursing homes and allocation of resources. In addition, the study results will provide information for decision-making and implementation of complex psychosocial interventions such as DCM. The findings will also be important for the design of a subsequent randomized controlled trial (e.g. appropriateness of outcomes and measurements, inclusion criteria for participating nursing homes) and the development of a successful implementation strategy.
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