Background: The prevalence of dementia is expected to increase rapidly, and institutionalization is a common consequence of the disease. Dependence in activities of daily living (ADL) is a predictor for institutionalization and a determinant for the quality of life (QoL). A promising method to increase functional independence in nursing homes is a restorative care or function focused care (FFC) approach. Movement-oriented restorative care (MRC) is derived from the concept of FFC and restorative care and focuses on the integration of physical activity in the daily lives of nursing home residents with dementia using a multidisciplinary approach. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of MRC in preservation of ADL independence and QoL in nursing home residents with dementia. Methods: In this quasi-experimental 12-month study, the effects of MRC were compared to care as usual in 61 nursing home residents with moderate to severe dementia. The outcome measures were ADL independence and QoL. These outcomes were measured five times (i.e. at baseline, and after 3, 6, 9, and 12 months). Additionally, data was collected regarding the degree of implementation, and the barriers to the implementation process. The effect of the intervention was analyzed using linear mixed model analyses. Results: There was no significant overall intervention effect on ADL independence and QoL. A significant group-by-time interaction was found for the QoL subscale positive self-image: after a 12 month intervention period, the MRC group scored significantly better than the control group on positive self-image. Regarding the other subscales and the total score of the QoL, as well as ADL, no significant group-by-time interactions were found. Conclusions: MRC did not demonstrate significant improvements in ADL or QoL. After a 12-month intervention period, residents who received MRC showed higher scores on positive self-image compared to the control group. This study contributes to the limited research regarding the effect of MRC on resident outcomes. Further large-scale studies are recommended. Trial registration: The trial was retrospectively registered in http://clinicaltrials.gov on February 2, 2017: NCT03001232.