Study on dementia: More sense of togetherness, fewer hospital admissions

If people with dementia regularly train their memory and movement in assisted communities, they are less likely to be hospitalized. This is the result of a joint study by the University of Bremen and the University Hospital Erlangen.

Due to their advanced age and various diseases, dementia sufferers are at high risk of being admitted to a hospital, which often has negative consequences for them. The DemWG study therefore aimed to reduce the number of hospitalizations and cut follow-up costs.

Better care for people with dementia in outpatient shared-housing arrangements

The research project investigated the effect of a complex intervention. This consisted of three components: Advanced training for staff and relatives in outpatient dementia shared-housing arrangements; digital training for general practitioners (online and as podcast), training program with movement and memory exercises in the group for people with dementia (MAKS-mk+).
Professor Karin Wolf-Ostermann, project manager at the Institute for Public Health and Nursing Research at the University of Bremen, emphasizes: “The DemWG study with the MAKS-mk+ training program makes an important contribution to improving the care of people with dementia in outpatient shared-housing arrangements. It therefore makes sense to continue the program in day-to-day care.”

MAKS-mk+ for a greater sense of togetherness

The MAKS program is a demonstrably effective psychosocial measure. It stands for motor (“M”), everyday practical (“A”), cognitive (“K”) and social (“S”) exercises. The further development of MAKS-mk+ promotes motor skills (“m”) with various movement exercises; cognitive, i.e. mental, abilities (“k”) are stimulated by playful digital exercises, and stretching, balance and strengthening exercises (“+”) are designed to prevent falls. The MAKS-mk+ training program was particularly popular with the residents of the shared-housing arrangements and was carried out up to five times a week during the study. It fostered the original idea of a residential community, resulting in “social cohesion and interest in each other, a real sense of 'we',” as one relative reports. The group activities helped the participants to get out of the daily routine, which offered limited employment opportunities, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, and the fall prevention exercises also had an impact and reduced gait insecurity.

Fewer hospitalizations

In the residential community that started the intervention immediately, there were also demonstrably fewer hospitalizations after six months. “If a person with dementia does not have to go to a hospital, you avoid a lot of stress and the risk that their needs will not be adequately met there,” says the Erlangen project manager Dr Carolin Donath from the Center for Medical Care Research at the Psychiatric and Psychotherapeutic Clinic of Erlangen University Hospital. To date, MAKS-mk+ continues to be offered in most of the participating dementia shared-housing arrangements, and 90% of residents take part at least twice a week.
The DemWG study was funded by the Innovation Committee of the Joint Federal Committee and carried out by the University of Bremen and the consortium partners of the University Hospital Erlangen and the AOK Bremen/Bremerhaven.

Further Information:


Professor Karin Wolf-Ostermann
Institute for Public Health and Nursing Research
University of Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-68960
Email: wolf-ostermannprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Pflegeperson hält die Hand einer Seniorin
Dementia sufferers are at high risk of being admitted to a hospital. The DemWG study aimed to reduce the number of hospitalizations and cut follow-up costs.