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Investigating the current methods of assessing behavioral and psychological symptoms in residential aged care facilities in a metropolitan city

  • Samantha M. Loi (a1) (a2) and Nicola T. Lautenschlager (a1) (a2) (a3)

Abstract

Up to 90% of people with dementia living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) display behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), and these are associated with poorer quality of life and increased morbidity and mortality. In order to implement appropriate interventions, it is important to understand the symptoms in more detail. Despite the availability of BPSD assessment tools, it is unknown what the current practice of monitoring of BPSD in RACFs. We sought to investigate the current BPSD assessment tools being used in RACFs and explore different stakeholders’ views on current practices. A cross-sectional convenience sample of 21 clinicians were identified and administered a questionnaire.

Old age psychiatrists, aged psychiatry clinicians, behavior management teams and RACF staff completed the questionnaires. Clinicians reported that objective consistent information about BPSD were important for recommending and implementing pharmacological and non-pharmacological strategies for BPSD; however, the use of validated BPSD assessments in RACFs was not a usual part of clinical practice. RACF staff stated the major barrier to assessment of BPSD was lack of time. Alternate methods of assessing BPSD which consider preferences from clinicians and RACF staff should be further investigated. Modern technology which can allow “real time” assessment may be a solution.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr Samantha M. Loi, Academic Unit for Psychiatry of Old Age, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, 34–54 Poplar Road, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia. Phone: +61 3 8387 2767. Email: Samantha.loi@unimelb.edu.au.

References

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