Behavioral variant Frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is associated with impaired social cognition abilities (Roca et al., 2013). Therefore it is often challenging to get in contact with people with bvFTD, particularly for their relatives (Greck, Lautenschlager, & Kurz, 2000). MarteMeo® Counseling is a video-based intervention and was originally developed to improve the dyadic relationship between children with autism and their parents by promoting the sensitive adaptation of the parental communication behaviors to the impaired social cognitive abilities of their loved ones. It is based on the presumption, that a good and reciprocal relationship is a prerequisite for the development and maintenance of social cognitive abilities (Berther & Niklaus-Loosli, 2015).
In the field of neurodegenerative diseases the aim of MMC is not supporting development, but, also here based on a good quality of relationship, activating resources for functioning and self-maintenance (Alnes, Kirkevold, & Skovdahl, 2011). In this feasibility study MarteMeo® Counseling (MMC) was applied for the first time to people with bvFTD and their caregivers. The aim is to evaluate the usefulness of MMC for this population, to determine an optimal intervention format (e.g. doses and intensity) and to explore potential effects.
The study used a quasi-experimental one-group-pre-post-design with double pre-measurement and an embedded mixed-method approach. Five dyads were enrolled. Explorative outcomes were sensitiveness of the caregivers, quality of caregiver-patient relationship, quality of life and challenging behaviors of people with bvFTD. At three time points of examination (T0, T1 after two weeks, and T2 after six weeks) a video of a dyadic interaction in a daily life situation (mealtime) was recorded and data collection was conducted. Time between T0 and T1 served as control period. Between T1 and T2 the caregiver received five MMC sessions. Video sequences were (ongoing) be micro-analyzed by means of video-interaction analysis to proof the assumed impact mechanism of the intervention. Effects on outcomes have been determined. Moreover collected process data were used to evaluate the benefit and acceptance of the intervention.
Results show descriptive changes for quality of relationship, quality of life and challenging behavior favoring the intervention period. Obviously MMC helped more than CG expected. Acceptance of the intervention was very high and utility was great for CGs. Therefore transfer of MMC from remedial education (children with autism) to people with bvFTD and their CG seems feasible. Even so the selected format and dosage of the intervention seems to be appropriate.