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Nursing home residents with dementia are sensitive to detrimental auditory environments. This paper presents the first literature review of empirical research investigating (1) the (perceived) intensity and sources of sounds in nursing homes, and (2) the influence of sounds on health of residents with dementia and staff.
A systematic review was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus. Study quality was assessed with the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. We used a narrative approach to present the results.
We included 35 studies. Nine studies investigated sound intensity and reported high noise intensity with an average of 55–68 dB(A) (during daytime). In four studies about sound sources, human voices and electronic devices were the most dominant sources. Five cross-sectional studies focused on music interventions and reported positives effects on agitated behaviors. Four randomized controlled trials tested noise reduction as part of an intervention. In two studies, high-intensity sounds were associated with decreased nighttime sleep and increased agitation. The third study found an association between music and less agitation compared to other stimuli. The fourth study did not find an effect of noise on agitation. Two studies reported that a noisy environment had negative effects on staff.
The need for appropriate auditory environments that are responsive to residents’ cognitive abilities and functioning is not yet recognized widely. Future research needs to place greater emphasis on intervention-based and longitudinal study design.
Psychotropic drugs are frequently and sometimes inappropriately used for the treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms of people with dementia, despite their limited efficacy and side effects. Interventions to address neuropsychiatric symptoms and psychotropic drug use are multifactorial and often multidisciplinary. Suboptimal implementation of these complex interventions often limits their effectiveness. This systematic review provides an overview of barriers and facilitators influencing the implementation of complex interventions targeting neuropsychiatric symptoms and psychotropic drug use in long-term care.
To identify relevant studies, the following electronic databases were searched between 28 May and 4 June: PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Cochrane, and CINAHL. Two reviewers systematically reviewed the literature, and the quality of the included studies was assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme qualitative checklist. The frequency of barriers and facilitators was addressed, followed by deductive thematic analysis describing their positive of negative influence. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research guided data synthesis.
Fifteen studies were included, using mostly a combination of intervention types and care programs, as well as different implementation strategies. Key factors to successful implementation included strong leadership and support of champions. Also, communication and coordination between disciplines, management support, sufficient resources, and culture (e.g. openness to change) influenced implementation positively. Barriers related mostly to unstable organizations, such as renovations to facility, changes toward self-directed teams, high staff turnover, and perceived work and time pressures.
Implementation is complex and needs to be tailored to the specific needs and characteristics of the organization in question. Champions should be carefully chosen, and the application of learned actions and knowledge into practice is expected to further improve implementation.
Prescribing antipsychotics to patients with neuropsychiatric symptoms is a matter of concern. Physicians have to make treatment decisions for patients with dementia together with proxies and/or nurses. However, it is unknown whether physicians, nurses, and proxies’ treatment preferences are aligned; hence this study.
Sixteen treatment attributes were selected to elicit the preferences of physicians and nurses. Ten of these attributes were used for the proxies. Preferences were estimated using a case-1 Best-Worst-Scaling design; respondents are asked to select the best and worst attribute on being presented with a hypothetical patient with dementia demonstrating neuropsychiatric symptoms. The treatments offered are: antipsychotic treatment or non-pharmaceutical regimens.
The questionnaire was filled in by 41 physicians, 81 nurses, and 59 proxies. The non-pharmacological treatment option was chosen by 52% of the proxies and 71% of the physicians and nurses. The respondents who chose antipsychotics rated the aspects “fastest result” and “most effective” as important. Physicians ranked “experience with antipsychotics” as an important aspect for prescribing antipsychotics. Only the proxies rated the aspect “having a low negative effect on the patient” as important. The nurses and elderly care physicians who chose the non-pharmaceutical treatment ranked “appropriateness” and “of little burden to the patient” as important aspects.
While doctors and nurses prefer non-pharmacological interventions, proxies indicated a preference for pharmacological treatment because of the immediate effect. However, physicians follow treatment guidelines and nurses and proxies rely on the physician's recommendations. We suggest physicians should be sensitive to these differences.
Although physicians are responsible for writing the antipsychotic prescriptions for patients with dementia, the initiative is often taken by nurses or nursing assistants. To reduce antipsychotics uses, one needs to understand the reasons for nurses and nursing assistants to request them. This study gives an overview of the influencing factors for this request based on the Theory of Planned Behavior in which attitude, beliefs, and behavioral control is thought to influence the intention to request, which in turn affects the behavior to request for a prescription.
Eighty-one nurses and nursing assistants of one Dutch nursing home organization completed an online survey.
Nurses and nursing assistants frequently agreed on items related to the positive effects of antipsychotics for the resident and for the staff. Nurses and nursing assistants with a lower job satisfaction were more likely to call for antipsychotics. Having more positive beliefs about treatment effects and feel of being more in control toward asking for antipsychotics were positively associated with intention to call. All variables explained 59% of the variance of intention. The current position (nurse/nursing assistant) was associated with actual behavior to call. The explained variance was 25%.
Policy-makers should focus on the nurses’ and nursing assistants’ belief in positive effects of antipsychotics for the resident, which is not in line with available evidence. Nurses and nursing assistants should be educated about the limited effectiveness of antipsychotics.
Despite the numerous warnings of European and national drug agencies as well as clinical guidelines since the year 2004, psychotropic drugs are still frequently used in dementia. A systematic review comparing the use of psychotropic drugs in nursing homes from different European countries is lacking.
The aim of this study was to examine prescription rates of psychotropic drug use in nursing home patients between different Western European countries since the first warnings were published.
A literature review was performed and the various psychotropic prescribing rates in European nursing homes were investigated. The prescription rates of antipsychotic and antidepressants were pooled per country. Other classes of psychotropic drugs could not be pooled because of the limited number of studies found.
Thirty-seven studies on antipsychotic drug use and 27 studies on antidepressant drug use conducted in 12 different European countries. The antipsychotic use in nursing homes ranged from 12% to 59% and antidepressant use from 19% to 68%. The highest rates of antipsychotic drug prescription were found in Austria, Ireland, and Belgium while for antidepressants in Belgium, Sweden, and France.
Despite warnings about the side effects and recommendation to focus on non-pharmacological interventions, antipsychotics and antidepressants are commonly used drugs in nursing homes. The data suggest that Norway does best with regards having a low antipsychotic drug usage. Studies are needed to explain the differences between Norway and other European countries.
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