Good Evidence for Non-drug Interventions that Reduce Agitation in Dementia

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There are good, evidence-based strategies to intervene in and reduce instances of agitation in dementia patients that don’t involve the administering of “ineffective and harmful” pharmaceutical medications, according to a review of the literature in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

The UK-based researchers reviewed 33 randomized controlled trials in care homes and found that “person-centred care, communication skills training and adapted dementia care” significantly decreased “symptomatic and severe agitation” both immediately and for up to 6 months afterwards.

They found evidence supporting physical activities and music therapy as well, but not for aromatherapy or light therapy. “There are evidence-based strategies for care homes,” they concluded. “Future interventions should focus on consistent and long-term implementation through staff training.”

(Abstract) Non-pharmacological interventions for agitation in dementia: systematic review of randomised controlled trials (Livingston, Gill et al. British Journal of Psychiatry. December 2014. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.113.141119)

1 COMMENT

  1. “reducing instances of agitation in dementia patients”
    The so-called “agitation” is another example of the behaviour which is not necessarily a problem for the person in question but makes the life of caregivers a bit more difficult. So it’s used as an excuse for chemical lobotomy. Practices like that are unethical but are widely used because these are the people nobody cares about and who have no power to complain.
    In today’s brave new world everyone who is not “productive” or who requires any care (kids, elderly, people experiencing extreme states of mind) is being shoved to the margins of society and made to comply by using chemical straightjackets in the name of “treatment”.

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