Quality of care and quality of life of people with dementia living at green care farms: a cross-sectional study

Bram de Boer*, Jan P. H. Hamers, Sandra M. G. Zwakhalen, Frans E. S. Tan, Hilde Verbeek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Many countries are introducing smaller, more home-like care facilities that represent a radically new approach to nursing home care for people with dementia. The green care farm is a new type of nursing home developed in the Netherlands. The goal of this study was to compare quality of care, quality of life and related outcomes in green care farms, regular small-scale living facilities and traditional nursing homes for people with dementia.

Methods: A cross-sectional design was used. Three types of nursing homes were included: (1) green care farms; (2) regular small-scale living facilities; (3) traditional nursing homes. All participating nursing homes were non-profit, collectively funded nursing homes in the south of the Netherlands. One hundred and fifteen residents with a formal diagnosis of dementia were included in the study. Data on quality of care was gathered and consisted of outcome indicators (e.g. falling incidents, pressure ulcers), structure indicators (e.g. hours per resident per day), and process indicators (e.g. presence, accessibility and content of protocols on care delivery). Furthermore, questionnaires on cognition, dependence in activities of daily living, quality of life, social engagement, neuropsychiatric symptoms, agitation, and depression were used.

Results: Data showed that quality of care was comparable across settings. No large differences were found on clinical outcome measures, hours per resident per day, or process indicators. Higher quality of life scores were reported for residents of green care farms in comparison with residents of traditional nursing homes. They scored significantly higher on the Quality of Life - Alzheimer's disease Scale (p <0.05, ES = 0.8) indicating a better quality of life. In addition, residents of green care farms scored higher on three quality of life domains of the Qualidem: positive affect, social relations and having something to do (p <0.05, ES > 0.7). No differences with regular small-scale living facilities were found.

Conclusions: Green care farms seem to be a valuable alternative to existing nursing homes. This is important as people with dementia are a heterogeneous group with varying needs. In order to provide tailored care there also is a need for a variety of living environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2017


  • Dementia
  • Long-term care
  • Nursing homes
  • Quality of care
  • Quality of life
  • Small-scale living facilities

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