Abstract Background Research to date offers mixed evidence about the relationship between quality of life and severity of cognitive impairment in people with dementia. We aimed to investigate longitudinal changes in patient- and proxy-rated health-related quality of life (HRQL) by severity of dementia and explore factors associated with changes in HRQL over a one-year period. We used data from the MODEM longitudinal cohort study which recruited dyads of persons with clinically diagnosed dementia and their principal carer and interviewed them face-to-face at baseline and again 1 year later. Methods Quota sampling was used to generate balanced numbers (target n = 100 for each severity level) of people with mild cognitive impairment (20+ on the standardised Mini-Mental State Examination (sMMSE)), moderate cognitive impairment (score 10 to 19), and severe cognitive impairment (score 0 to 9). Persons with dementia without an identifiable family carer or other informant (e.g., a formal/professional/paid carer) were excluded from the study. Participants answered a series of questions measuring their HRQL: DEMQOL, DEMQOL-proxy, EQ-5D-3 L, EQ-5D-3L proxy. Multiple regression models were built to understand the effects of baseline demographics and dementia symptoms (cognitive impairment, neuropsychiatric symptoms) on change in HRQL over 1 year. Results Two hundred and forty-three dyads of people with clinically diagnosed dementia and carers completed baseline and follow-up interviews. Most measures of HRQL remaining relatively stable between time-points, but one index of HRQL, EQ-5D proxy, significantly declined. Depending on the HRQL measure, different factors were associated with change in HRQL. The only factor consistently associated with decline in HRQL (when compared to improvement) was having a diagnosis of a non-Alzheimer’s dementia. Conclusions Deterioration in HRQL is not an inevitable part of the dementia journey. However, people with non-Alzheimer’s dementias may be more susceptible to HRQL decline. This may indicate that those with non-Alzheimer’s dementia may benefit from specific support focussed on maintaining their quality of life.



Publication Date


Publication Title

BMC Geriatrics





Embargo Period


Organisational Unit

Peninsula Medical School