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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 70:477-482 doi:10.1136/jnnp.70.4.477
  • Review

Reducing everyday memory and planning problems by means of a paging system: a randomised control crossover study

Abstract

OBJECTIVES To evaluate a paging system designed to improve independence in people with memory problems and executive deficits.

METHODS After a successful pilot study, a randomised control trial was conducted involving a crossover design with 143 people aged between 8 and 83 years. All had one or more of the following: memory, planning, attention, or organisation problems. Most had sustained a traumatic head injury or a stroke although a few had developmental learning difficulties or other conditions. The crossover design ensured that some people received a pager after a 2 week baseline whereas others were required to wait for 7 weeks after the baseline before receiving the pager. Participants were assessed at three time periods—namely, at baseline, 7 weeks, and at 14 weeks postbaseline.

RESULTS More than 80% of those who completed the 16 week trial were significantly more successful in carrying out everyday activities (such as self care, self medication, and keeping appointments) when using the pager in comparison with the baseline period. For most of these, significant improvement was maintained when they were monitored 7 weeks after returning the pager.

CONCLUSIONS This particular paging system significantly reduces everyday failures of memory and planning in people with brain injury.

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