Publication Details

Brett, L., Traynor, V. & Stapley, P. (2016). Effects of physical exercise on health and well-being of individuals living with a dementia in nursing homes: a systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA): long-term care: management, applied research and clinical issues, 17 (2), 104-116.


Background Physical exercise interventions have benefits for older individuals and improve the health and well-being of individuals living with a dementia, specifically those living in nursing homes. Purpose Report evidence from randomized controlled trials and cluster randomized control trials that evaluated the effects of physical exercise interventions on individuals living with a dementia in nursing homes. Data sources Web of Science, Scopus, Science Direct, Academic Search Complete, Proquest Central, British Medical Journal Database, PubMed, Cochrane Library, PEDro, Informit, Informa, and Nursing Consult were searched for relevant clinical trials and snowballing of recommended studies. Study selection One reviewer screened articles on inclusion criteria and identified relevant studies. Data extraction Data extraction was performed by 1 reviewer and checked by second and third reviewers. Two authors assessed the methodological quality and risk of bias of the relevant studies. Data synthesis Twelve study populations consisting of individuals living with a dementia in nursing homes were included (n = 901). Different types of physical exercises were undertaken: multimodal (n = 6), walking (n = 5), music and movement (n = 2), and hand exercises (n = 1). The parameters of the interventions varied across the studies. Most of the studies reported significant positive effects of physical exercise on cognition, agitation, mood, mobility, and functional ability for individuals living with dementia in nursing homes. Limitations The main limitations were the heterogeneity of design, small samples, and short interventions. Conclusions There is emerging evidence that physical exercise significantly benefits individuals living with a dementia in nursing homes. Higher quality research is required adopting more rigorous methods, including longer interventions and larger samples to determine optimum parameters of the physical exercise interventions evaluated.



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