Iram Bibi: Evaluation of the use of behaviour change techniques in delivering Tai Chi to improve quality of life among older people with dementia

Student:  Iram Bibi
Start date:  September 2016
Supervisory Team:  Dr Samuel Nyman, Professor Remco Polman and Professor Peter Thomas

Project overview:  The aim of the PhD is to assess the effects of behaviour change techniques to improve adherence to Tai Chi intervention among community dwelling older people with dementia for improving their quality of life. Tai Chi is an ancient form of Chinese mind-body exercise involving smooth and continuous body movements along with deep breathing and mental concentration. Tai Chi has been shown to work well for general older population in improving their balance, however, its effects are not yet known for people with dementia.

This PhD is a part of Randomised Control Trial (RCT). It will consist of three interrelated studies. The first study will examine the psychometric properties of the quality of life scale ICEpop (Investigating Choice Experiments for the Preferences of Older People) CAPability measure for Older people (ICECAP-O). This scale has been shown to be applicable to general healthy older population however in the validation study it will be explored if it is equally applicable to people with dementia.

The second study will evaluate process of adherence to the Tai Chi intervention among older people with dementia. Adherence will be considered as attendance to the classes and exercise carried out at home. A dose-response relationship will be assessed between the adherence measures and changes in primary and secondary outcome measures.

In the third study effect of Behaviour Change Techniques (BCTs) on adherence to Tai Chi and subsequently effects of adherence on outcome measures of the study will be examined. Behaviour Change Techniques (BCTs) will be introduced during the intervention phase including social support from the Tai Chi instructor and other dyads, feedback on performance by the Tai Chi instructor, reminders for home exercise practice and class attendance, correlating a joint action plan, and joint coping plan, self-monitoring, and feedback from Tai Chi instructor on home exercise practice.