A cluster randomised trial of the program to enhance adjustment to residential living (PEARL): A novel psychological intervention to reduce depression in newly admitted aged care residents

Tanya E. Davison, Marita P. McCabe, Lucy Busija, Daniel W. O'Connor, Vera Camões Costa, Jessica Byers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Depression rates are high in residential aged care (RAC) facilities, with newly admitted residents at particular risk. New approaches to address depression in this population are urgently required, particularly psychological interventions suitable for widespread use across the RAC sector. The Program to Enhance Adjustment to Residential Living (PEARL) is a brief intervention, designed to provide individually tailored care approaches to meet the psychological needs of newly admitted residents, delivered in collaboration with facility staff. Methods: PEARL will be evaluated using a cluster randomised controlled design, comparing outcomes for residents who participate in the intervention with those residing in care as usual control facilities. Participants are RAC residents aged 60 years or above, with normal cognition or mild-moderate cognitive impairment, who relocated to the facility within the previous 4 weeks. The primary outcomes are depressive symptoms and disorders, with secondary outcomes including anxiety, stress, quality of life, adjustment to RAC, and functional dependence, analysed on an intention to treat basis using multilevel modelling. Discussion: PEARL is an intervention based on self-determination theory, designed to reduce depression in newly admitted residents by tailoring day to day care to meet their psychological needs. This simple psychological approach offers an alternative care model to the current over-reliance of antidepressant medications. Trial registration: ACTRN12616001726448; Registered 16 December 2016 with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number98
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2020


  • Adjustment
  • Depression
  • Long term care
  • Nursing homes
  • Quality of life
  • Residential aged care

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