The REMCARE Trial investigated the relative benefits and effectiveness of joint reminiscence groups, i.e. reminiscence therapy interventions involving people with dementia and their family carers together.
The researchers did not find evidence supporting the clinical effectiveness or cost-effectiveness of joint reminiscence groups. Attendance rates were not always high. Economic analyses indicated that joint reminiscence groups were unlikely to be cost-effective, when evaluated against costs. Potential benefits for people with dementia attending the reminiscence sessions tended to be offset by raised anxiety and stress on the part of their carers.
There were no significant adverse effects attributed to joint reminiscence groups, but the authors suggest this trial may indicate the need to re-appraise trends towards the uncritical widespread adoption (and funding) of such interventions, given times of austerity.
Woods, RT. Orrell, M. [and] Bruce, E. [et al] (2016). REMCARE: pragmatic multi-centre randomised trial of reminiscence groups for people with dementia and their family carers: effectiveness and economic analysis. PLoS One. April 19th 2016; 11(4): e0152843.
Other viewpoints on this question may become available, and these will be collected as they are published.