Aim and Methods: The aim was to evaluate the implementation of a structured physical activity (PA) programme for individuals living with a dementia in care homes. More specifically, the study aimed to test the effects on the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) using the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory and Algase Wandering Scale. The study was undertaken over 16 weeks using a quasi-experimental design. Registered nurses, physiotherapists, assistants in nursing and physiotherapy aids from one aged care organisation in NSW, Australia, undertook the study with academics.
Results: A total of 72 individuals living with a dementia from four care homes participated. Implementation of the structured PA programme generated statistically significant findings with reductions in agitation (p < 0.001) and eloping (p = 0.001) achieved for individuals living with a dementia in care homes.
Conclusions: Physiotherapists and exercise physiologists can complement nursing-focused care teams and contribute to a holistic model of care for individuals living with dementia in care homes. The study demonstrated how a structured PA programme positively affected the levels of agitation and wandering experienced by individuals living with a dementia. Individuals living with a dementia in care homes who participated in a structured PA experienced positive outcomes from the programme. The findings demonstrated that they benefited from the programme and PA should be promoted for this group just as it is for other population groups, including general populations of older people.