Quality of life and care needs of people with Alzheimer’s disease

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Communication is an important factor for quality of life, expressing ones needs and social interaction. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterised by progressive decline in cognitive and functional ability and is frequently accompanied by neuropsychiatric symptoms and communication impairments. Limited research has been conducted to examine the link between non-verbal and verbal communication impairment, care needs, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and quality of life in care home residents living with AD. The care home population commonly present with varied and complex needs, features that can be exacerbated in individuals with dementia.
This PhD project examined associations between non-verbal and verbal communication impairment, care needs, neuropsychiatric symptoms, professional caregiver burden and quality of life (QoL). Two tools were identified and tested for psychometric properties to assess non-verbal communication in people living with Alzheimer’s disease (PlwAD): Emory Dyssemia Index (EDI), Revised Edinburgh Functional Communication Profile (REFCP).
Primary outcome measures assessed QoL of PlwAD in care home settings using the proxy and self-reported Logsdon Quality of Life – AD scale. Other outcome measures included the EDI, REFCP, Camberwell Assessment of Needs in Elderly and the Sheffield Test for Acquired Language Disorders and Neuropsychiatric Inventory – Nursing Home version.
Correlation analysis indicated associations between impairment in non-verbal communication, care needs (total number of care needs and met care needs), neuropsychiatric symptoms and QoL for PlwAD. Further interventional studies are required to confirm these findings and provide an indication of directional causality between non-verbal communication and QoL.
Date of Award1 Sept 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorClive Ballard (Supervisor) & Paul Francis (Supervisor)

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