Tovertafel has a positive effect on quality of life of people with dementia

Spelfoto Vlinders Senioren Tovertafel

Nurse practitioner Leonie Bruil was nominated for the V&VN VZI eHealth Dissertation Award 2017 with her thesis The impact of the Tovertafel on quality of life of psychogeriatric nursing home residents. Her article has also been published in Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie, the Dutch-language scientific journal for gerontology and geriatrics. Her conclusion? “The Tovertafel seems to improve quality of life in people with dementia.”

The installation of the Tovertafel at the Den Ooiman (Sensire) nursing home in Doetinchem led Leonie Bruil, who at the time was studying for her Master’s degree in Advanced Nursing Practice at the HAN University of Applied Sciences, to come up with the idea of measuring the effects of the nursing home’s latest acquisition for her final thesis. Was the Tovertafel able to improve the quality of life of residents with dementia?

Apathy and gloominess

“I wanted to do practical research, attractive to nurses. Apathy is common in psychogeriatric care residents. They suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness or stare into space for periods of time. I wanted to find out more about interventions that can lift residents out of their gloominess and improve their quality of life.”

Leonie started to measure the effects. For six weeks, she followed 34 residents in small groups and observed their behaviour closely. “We used two validated measuring instruments: the Discomfort Scale-Dementia of the Alzheimer’s Type (DS-DAT) and the Qualidem observation scale. Both scales were used to compare the behaviour of the residents in the week and the hours before playing with the Tovertafel to their behaviour after having played a game. We played at the same time every day in order to answer the question: ‘Do we observe an improvement in behaviour?'”

Improving quality of life by playing with the Tovertafel

There was a noticeable improvement in the quality of life of the residents. In her conclusion, Leonie writes:

“In conclusion, until one week after having played with the Tovertafel, an improvement in the quality of life of nursing homes residents with moderate or severe dementia could be observed.”

Further research

Leonie hopes that her research will inspire people to use the Tovertafel more often. “The research design used in this study was quantitative and data driven. Many beautiful things we saw have not been included. The residents’ sense of wonder, funny moments during the game.. qualitative research doesn’t allow for context on the statistical data. It would be a good idea to conduct follow-up research into the effects of the Tovertafel. But this is a great start!”

Would you like to know more about Leonie’s research? Visit the website of Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie for a summary of the article that Leonie Bruil, Marian J.M. Adriaansen, Judith W. M. Groothuis and Ercolie R. Bossema wrote. There is also a video in which Leonie explains her research. (Note: voting is no longer possible.)

Want to know more about the role of research?

In order to develop games that contribute to the quality of life of our target groups and that fit well within their (care) environment, we do research at Tover in cooperation with educational institutions.

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