Alzheimer's Award 2009 - Fondation Médéric Alzheimer - Alzheimer's Disease International

Fondation Mederic AlzheimerIn 2009, Fondation Médéric Alzheimer and Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) launched the second Alzheimer's Award for evidence-based psychosocial interventions for people with Alzheimer's Disease and their carers. One prize of 18,000 € was awarded for a piece of psychosocial research that deserves greater dissemination and a second prize of 7000 € for further implementation of a promising piece of psychosocial research.

Psychosocial research involves or relates to both the social and psychological aspects of a patient's life. Often this includes the relationship between the personal, internal environment and the wider social world, such as the influence of social and environmental factors on an individual's state of mind and/or behaviour.

The winners of the award were announced during the 25th International Conference of ADI in Thessaloniki, Greece in March 2010.

Best evidence-based intervention

This award was presented to Dr Amit Dias of the Goa Medical College in India. His intervention, entitled 'Effectiveness of a community based psychosocial intervention for supporting people with dementia and their caregivers in developing countries', has been carried out in Goa with people with mild to moderate dementia and their carers. The intervention is a community-based project provided by a team of home care advisors, supervised by a counsellor and psychiatrist. The intervention provides people with dementia and their carers with information on dementia, guidance on behaviour management and gives a single psychiatric assessment. This study has proven to reduce caregiver stress in participants. It is hoped that the project will be circulated using the media and all available networks for advocacy, awareness raising and training purposes.

A special recommendation was given to Rose Marie Droës for her project, 'Implementation of the Meeting Centres Support Programme in Europe'. The Meeting Centres Support Programme is a day care programme for people with dementia and their carers. It is based on individual assessment of the needs of both the person with dementia and their carer, who are given the opportunity to take part in their own activities. The project suggests that participants show fewer problems with behaviour and mood when involved in the programme and admission to care homes is delayed. The programme is currently active in 50 Centres in the Netherlands and it is hoped that this intervention can be implemented in other countries within Europe.

Most promising evidence-based psychosocial intervention

Prof Anne Margriet Pot of the Free University in Amsterdam, Netherlands received the award for her project 'Mastery over Dementia: an innovative e-mental health intervention for family caregivers of people with dementia'. Mastery over Dementia is an online intervention for family carers of people with dementia. It began as a pilot scheme in November 2008 and consists of 8 lessons and a booster session during which participants are in contact with a professional counsellor. Promising results have already been received and the aim is for the project to be translated into English with a DVD to encourage Alzheimer associations, research institutes and service providers to adopt similar projects.

A special recommendation in this category was given to Li-Chan Lin for the intervention 'The Efficacy of Acupressure and Montessori-based Activities to Reduce Agitated Behavior in Demented Elders'. This proposal is based on a study that compared the effects of acupressure (a technique derived from acupuncture), Montessori-based activities and presence on the agitation of people with dementia. Both methods, one related to traditional Chinese medicine and the other to the work of the Italian reformer in education Maria Montessori who introduced child-centred education, showed a decrease in agitation. The aim is to conduct a follow-up study to investigate the effects of these methods when used by professional carers in long-term facilities like care homes.

A 3rd award was announced at the ADI conference, and details of how to submit proposals will be available in the coming weeks.