Angela Balzotti et al. (2018), Comparison of the efficacy of gesture‐verbal treatment and doll therapy in older patients with dementia

Angela Balzotti et al. (2018), Comparison of the efficacy of gesture‐verbal treatment and doll therapy in older patients with dementia

In this study, we aimed at evaluating the efficacy of 2 NPTs on NPS. In particular, our protocol implemented an innovative gestural‐verbal treatment (GVT) previously used to facilitate word retrieval in individuals with aphasia.4243 Results from studies with aphasic patients suggest that increases in iconic gestures (ie, hand or body movements illustrating the semantic content of speech/words in a pictorial way) as part of the patients communication approach can lead to significantly fewer communication breakdowns that, in turn, may decrease patients' behavioral disturbances. We hypothesized that a GVT may be effective in reducing some NPS of dementia. Differently, other NPTs encourage the use of strategies that engage alternative cognitive‐affective mechanisms to improve NPS. One such strategy is the use of doll therapy (DT), which is a person‐centered therapy that involves behaviors like holding, talking to, feeding, cuddling, or dressing an anthropomorphic doll.4445 Many studies demonstrated that DT might lead to a decrease in disruptive behaviors such as agitation in PwD.46-48 To date, there is no unique explanatory model for this intervention. Researchers assume that Bowlby's theory of attachment49 may represent a possible key to explain the effectiveness of DT.5051 Most studies suggest that DT fulfills attachment and nurturing needs by simulating familiar roles and providing comfort and a sense of purpose (eg,5253). In addition, several studies have shown that DT can facilitate and encourage communication between demented individuals, other residents, care staff, and families (eg,5455). Fraser and James also reported an increase in nonverbal communication, including eye contact and touch.56 Therefore, it is conceivable that DT, by meeting a variety of different needs in individuals with dementia, including the innate human need for communication and attachment, can increase well‐being and thereby reduce challenging behaviors. Etc