A randomized, controlled, single-blinded, between group study of 24 participants with moderate to severe dementia was conducted on a geriatric psychiatric unit. All participants received pharmacological therapy, occupational therapy, structured hospital environment, and were randomized to receive multi sensory behavior therapy (MSBT) or a structured activity session. Greater independence in activities of daily living (ADLs) was observed for the group treated with MSBT and standard psychiatric inpatient care on the Katz Index of Activities of Daily Living (KI-ADL; P = 0.05) than standard psychiatric inpatient care alone. The combination treatment of MSBT and standard psychiatric care also reduced agitation and apathy greater than standard psychiatric inpatient care alone as measured with the Pittsburgh Agitation Scale and the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms in Alzheimer's Disease (P = 0.05). Multiple regression analysis predicted that within the multi-sensory group, activities of daily living (KI-ADL) increased as apathy and agitation reduced (R2 = 0.42; p = 0.03). These data suggest that utilizing MSBT with standard psychiatric inpatient care may reduce apathy and agitation and additionally improve activities of daily living in hospitalized people with moderate to severe dementia more than standard care alone
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