Christmas will mean different things to each of us and arouses many different emotions, but common to us all will be its links with the past. It’s a time for remembering. Those who spend time with older people may encourage them to share memories of Christmas, prompted perhaps by photos, a favourite food or by decorations brought out each year.
Doing this kind of thing can be part of reminiscence therapy, a popular strategy in caring for people with dementia. But do we have evidence that it works? The review team who did a Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews. In systematic reviews we search for and summarize studies that answer a specific research question (e.g. is paracetamol effective and safe for treating back pain?). The studies are identified, assessed, and summarized by using a systematic and predefined approach. They inform recommendations for healthcare and research. on this found that good evidence is lacking and they highlighted the need for more and better designed Clinical trials are research studies involving people who use healthcare services. They often compare a new or different treatment with the best treatment currently available. This is to test whether the new or different treatment is safe, effective and any better than what is currently used. No matter how promising a new treatment may appear during tests in a laboratory, it must go through clinical trials before its benefits and risks can really be known.. As things stand, we don’t know whether it works, though the little evidence there is suggests there may be benefits and no harmful effects were reported. Advent is, of course, a time of anticipation, and happily we can anticipate an update of this review in 2015.
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Woods B, Spector AE, Jones CA, Orrell M, Davies SP. Reminiscence therapy for dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD001120. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001120.pub2 – See more at: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD001120/DEMENTIA_inconclusive-evidence-of-the-efficacy-of-reminiscence-therapy-for-dementia#sthash.Tf5JAFvy.dpuf