In a study of 89 residents who had both dementia and behavior problems in six Maryland nursing homes, a team associated with Innovative Aging Research found most of the patients had important, unmet needs.
Publishing in Psychiatry Research, the authors wrote that, “Three unmet needs per resident were identified on average, with informants rating boredom/sensory deprivation, loneliness/need for social interaction, and need for meaningful activity as the most prevalent needs. Discomfort was associated with higher levels of verbally agitated behaviors (e.g., complaining).”
The authors identified a number of strategies for uncovering these needs, but identified that detecting unspoken “discomfort and pain” among these patients could be significantly more challenging.
Cohen-Mansfield, Jiska, Maha Dakheel-Ali, Marcia S. Marx, Khin Thein, and Natalie G. Regier. “Which Unmet Needs Contribute to Behavior Problems in Persons with Advanced Dementia?” Psychiatry Research 0, no. 0. Accessed April 23, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2015.03.043. (Abstract)