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Management of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia: targeting specific behaviours with specific strategies


Since the 1980's the interest in Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) has dramatically increased and is now recognized as one of the most significant areas for research and development of treatments in Aged Psychiatry. The State of Victoria in Australia has for many years provided specialised residential care for people with psychiatric disorders of old age, who require nursing home level of care. These units house 30 resident each and at least 50% of these people display BPSD.

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The paper will review the process of admission, assessment and development of treatment plans, tailored to the individual and the individual behaviours. The structure and design of the homes as well as staffing, staff training and development and management of staff will also be examined as an integral part of the caring for these patients


This paper will show that there has been a significant (50%) reduction of anti psychotic medication in one nursing home where the staff were trained, assessments were more diligently followed and the interior decoration of the nursing home altered to suit the resident group. It will also show, through the reduction in reported aggressive incidents, that the residents, through management with the use of individually tailored management plans have suffered less injuries, falls and other problems associated, not only with medications, but with BPSD's


In the management of BPSD, an individualised care plan to match the individual as well as the specific BPSD, rather than the "one size fits all" approach in pharmacology or psychosocial interactions may be a more appropriate alternative/complementary approach.

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Correspondence to C McDougall.

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McDougall, C. Management of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia: targeting specific behaviours with specific strategies. Ann Gen Hosp Psychiatry 2, S96 (2003).

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  • Dementia
  • Nursing Home
  • Care Plan
  • Psychological Symptom
  • Residential Care