A cost analysis of a randomized controlled trial shows that a tailored activity program for persons living with dementia results in healthcare savings.
Tailored Activity Programs (TAP) for persons living with dementia (PWLD) are personalized interventions designed to enhance the well-being and cognitive function of PLWD through activities and engagement tailored to individuals’ cognitive and functional profiles. Activities may range from physical exercise and games to arts and crafts. TAPs have been shown to reduce neuropsychiatric symptoms and improve health outcomes among PLWD, as well as improve caregiver well-being. A follow up to a 2021 randomized control trial, this study analyzes the costs of delivering a TAP and health care sector and societal cost savings (incurred by both PLWD and their caregivers) in comparison to those incurred by individuals in a control group. The TAP intervention examined was delivered by a licensed occupational therapist in eight in-person, one-hour home sessions over three months.
The authors found that the TAP intervention resulted in statistically significant health care sector savings in the six months after enrollment. However, when societal costs were analyzed (including caregiver time and the use of social services), no statistically significant differences were identified between the intervention and control groups.
This study compared outcomes among PLWD and their caregivers who received TAP to a control group who received a non-tailored intervention involving the same number of in-person visits. Given the robust evidence on the impact of TAP on PLWD and caregiver outcomes, differences in health care sector and societal costs likely would have been greater if the control group received no intervention. The authors’ identification of both the discrete implementation cost of TAP and health care sector savings may be used by policymakers to design and implement similar programs.