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A systematic evaluation of impulsive–aggressive behavior in psychogeriatric inpatients using the staff observation aggression scale-revision (SOAS-R)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 August 2017

Myrella Paschali*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany
Daniel Kamp
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany
Claudia Reichmann
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany
Michaela Jaenner
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany
Christian Lange-Asschenfeldt
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany
Tillmann Supprian
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: Myrella Paschali, LVR Klinikum Düsseldorf, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Bergische Landstr. 2, D-40629 Düsseldorf, Germany. Email: myrella.paschali@lvr.de.

Abstract

Background:

Impulsive–aggressive behavior is a significant challenge in geriatric psychiatry and requires professional evaluation and management.

Methods:

SOAS-R scales (Staff Observation Aggression Scale-Revision) completed by medical staff on three secure psychiatric wards were analyzed during a period of 12 months. Patients were subdivided into the following two diagnostic subgroups: dementia and other diagnoses.

Results:

A total of 146 aggressive incidents involving 66 patients were reported (8.8% of patients treated during this period, n = 752). Fifty-seven percent of the incidents involved patients with dementia. In 20% of the incidents, no precipitating event could be identified; this was more common in patients without dementia (p = 0.005). The medical condition of the patient was considered the trigger in 55% of the cases. Aggression was directed at nurses in 82% of the cases. Visible injury was reported in 12 cases, 3 of which required medical treatment. Male gender, the presence of previous aggressive incidents, and the evening shift (in the case of dementia patients) were identified as risk factors.

Conclusions:

Aggression in dementia is often reactive and seems to be more predictable than if occurring with other diagnoses. Prevention measures such as de-escalations techniques, warning notes in the patient's file with previous aggressive behavior and stepping up for evening shifts are of crucial importance. As nurses were primarily affected, employer support programs, and mental health interventions are proposed to avoid long-term consequences.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2017 

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