Homebound Elderly People Psychotherapeutic Intervention

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  • sponsor
    University of Coimbra
Updated on 13 September 2021


This study aims to develop, implement, and assess the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a 10-week structured and individualized cognitive-emotional intervention program for homebound older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and with depressive and/or anxiety symptoms. Homebound Elderly People Psychotherapeutic Intervention (HEPPI) is designed to maintain or improve memory functioning, reduce depressive and/or anxiety symptoms, and help participants to compensate or adapt to impaired cognitive performance, improving their quality of life and their subjective perception of memory and health.


There is currently a significant increase in the number of homebound older adults due to multiple physical, psychological, and/or social vulnerabilities, who require in-home support services. A substantial proportion of these elderly people has MCI - more specifically amnesic MCI (aMCI) - often associated with depressive and/or anxious symptomatology. Although the general cognitive functioning and the daily functional capacity is relatively preserved, the cognitive impairment and the emotional difficulties have a significant negative impact in their quality of life.

MCI is a pathological risk condition to develop dementia, more specifically Alzheirmer's disease. Thus, a significant part of homebound older adults is in the prodromal phase of this disease, which represents a key moment for its early detection and for the application of appropriate interventions. Indeed, older adults are able to learn new information and memory strategies, as well as adapt their behavior, allowing them to benefit from such interventions.

The intervention programs focusing on cognition and MCI related symptomatology have revealed to maintain or improve the mnesic abilities and attention capacity in older people, as well as reduce depressive and/or anxiety symptoms. However, despite the growing research, there are few studies applying and assessing the effectiveness of these programs in homebound older adults. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of the HEPPI program - a cognitive-emotional intervention program for homebound older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment and with depressive and/or anxiety symptoms.

A sample of homebound older adults over 65 years old with aMCI and with depressive and/or anxiety symptoms is being recruited through contact with national entities that identify and work directly with this population, and through contact with their social support network. Participants who demonstrate interest are informed about the aims and procedures of the study, and asked to sign an informed consent form before eligibility assessment. Eligible participants are randomly assigned to either an experimental group, who receive the intervention, or a waiting-list control group, who will receive access to HEPPI program at the end of the study. Both groups complete a neuropsychological protocol to assess measures of cognition, psychological health, subjective memory complaints, quality of life, personality, and functional capacity. This protocol is applied in two different moments: at baseline (PRE) and one week after the intervention (POS1). The study procedures take place at the participants' homes.

Condition Depression, ANXIETY NEUROSIS, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Mild Neurocognitive Disorder, depressive symptoms, anxiety state, state anxiety
Treatment HEPPI
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04967378
SponsorUniversity of Coimbra
Last Modified on13 September 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Homebound older adults over 65 years old
Presence of aMCI
Presence of depressive and/or anxiety symptoms
Residence in mainland Portugal
Provision of written informed consent by participants

Exclusion Criteria

Presence of a dementia diagnosis
Presence or history of other significant neurological conditions
Presence of severe psychiatric illnesses
Presence of comorbid medical conditions associated with cognition decline
Use of psychotropic medication
Presence of alcoholism or toxicomania
Significant impairment of vision, hearing, communication or manual dexterity
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