Caring for residents with dementia : beyond medication
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by B Joyner, Joella Storey, C Schweitzer
General practitioners provide most of the medical care for people with dementia who live in residential aged care facilities. Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) including psychosis, depression, agitation, aggression, and disinhibition, often occur. These affront the person’s dignity and well being and are often managed with psychotropic medications. Cholinesterase inhibitors are of no benefit in reducing these behaviours. Aims: This study evaluates the effectiveness of the ‘Spark of Life’ program, a social therapeutic, person-centred care program, which aims to improve memory, language, communication, social interaction, and behaviours. BPSD and associated variables were assessed as key outcome measures. Method: A small n case multiple baseline design was employed to assess the impact on behaviours, depression, pain, activity including falls, use of restraint, sleep, and requirements for antipsychotic, antidepressant and hypnotic medications. Data was obtained from people with dementia, their caregivers, and family members. Results: Continuous assessment of BPSD outcome measures over 8 months will be presented in graphical format for several residents with mild to moderate dementia. Related outcomes for carers and families will also be presented. Conclusions: The impact of this program on the wellbeing of residents may provide an effective non-pharmacological approach to the prevention and management of BPSD, enabling a reduction in the use of psychotropic medications.