Purpose of review: To describe the impact of living in a nursing home on quality of life (QoL) in people living with dementia.
Recent findings: People with dementia are likely to spend time in a nursing home, particularly in the late stage of the syndrome when declining functional and cognitive ability add to the burden of community care. Although it is commonly assumed that QoL decreases for people with dementia once they are placed into a nursing home, the reviewed studies suggest that self-ratings of QoL are significantly higher than staff and family ratings, several nonpharmacological interventions may increase QoL and further research is needed that focuses on the influence of care provision.
Summary: Dementia is associated with a reduced QoL that can be partly caused by environment, staff attitudes and limited relationships. Although people with dementia experience variations in QoL across the trajectory of the syndrome, there is evidence that they can communicate their preferences and have meaning in their lives when key factors related to QoL are addressed. Some of these key factors include meaningful time use through activities focused on their interests, social engagement, positive staff attitudes and an environment that allows connection with others.