By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.


Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Nurses promote 'six-steps' to manage dementia

US nurse researchers have developed a six-step approach to help manage behavioural symptoms in dementia patients, which they say can be used across all settings.

Behaviour changes are among the “most visible, disruptive and distressing symptoms” of dementia, note the researchers from Johns Hopkins University.

Symptoms such as confusion, repetitive questioning and combativeness to wandering, hallucinations and loss of inhibition have been a challenge to clinicians, they said, particularly as many drugs carry significant risks and have been found to be relatively ineffective.

But many symptoms can be managed well, without medications, if clinicians integrate behavioural management strategies into ongoing treatment and break daily activities into small, simple steps and to establish structured routines.

The researchers have outlined a six-step approach to help clinicians identify and effectively manage most behavioural symptoms of dementia:

  • screen for behavioural symptoms early
  • identify symptoms
  • delineate the triggers and risk factors for the symptoms
  • choose the proper interventions. For example, an individual with dementia might wake repeatedly each night, voicing fear of being alone in the dark, despite continuous calming efforts. An intervention might mean introducing a nightlight in the patient’s room
  • evaluate the intervention to make sure that it is working
  • follow the patient’s progress over time

Professor Laura Gitlin said: “This six-step process should be a routine part of regular health care for individuals with dementia.

“It should be undertaken in any clinical setting involved in caring for someone with dementia, including primary care and memory clinics, as well as in hospitals, assisted living and nursing facilities.”


Readers' comments (3)

  • tell that to care home staff

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • So what's new here?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • This way of supporting those individuals living with dementia is not new in any way.
    A person centred approach to each individual is what is important.Not just reaching for a prescription pad.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Related Jobs

Sign in to see the latest jobs relevant to you!