The effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions for behavioural and psychological symptom management for people with dementia in residential care settings

Basu A, Brinson D
Record ID 32010001694
Authors' recommendations: This report systematically reviewed the evidence for the effectiveness of nonpharmacological interventions for behavioural and psychological symptom management, for people with dementia in residential care settings. The methods that have been trialled in residential care settings to reduce agitation and aggression and other BPSDs are diverse.The main findings from this review suggest that training of staff members associated with the care of the dementia patients in residential facilities, individually tailored behavioural modification programmes, and incorporating physical activities, music therapy, and aromatherapy, might be beneficial for the management of key elements of BPSD, most notably agitation, aggression, and/or several symptoms in combination. On the other hand, while bright light and Snoezelen therapy have been studied in various different contexts, this review did not identify sufficient evidence to suggest that these were indeed beneficial for people with dementia.One notable observation is the large number of studies reporting statistically significant benefits in both the intervention group/s and the control group/s. These studies would generally be described as ‘negative studies’ because of the failure to demonstrate statistically significant between-group differences. However, with respect to dementia care, it can be argued that this phenomenon is a potentially important finding in its own right and, at least in part, demonstrates the potential positive effect of simple ‘attention’. Based on the body of evidence, it seems reasonable to attest that the potential effects of simple 'attention' should not be overlooked, and any lack of evidence does not necessarily equate to a lack of efficacy, nor be (necessarily) a barrier to implementation. One feature of the dementia research in general is the propensity of individuals with dementia to respond to interventions (or not) in individualised ways. There is no panacea, and arguably, from a practical perspective, simple case-by-case solutions may be as valid as more complex intervention programmes
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2010
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: New Zealand
MeSH Terms
  • Residential Facilities
  • Behavioral Symptoms
Organisation Name: Health Services Assessment Collaboration
Contact Address: University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
Contact Name:
Contact Email:
Copyright: Health Services Assessment Collaboration (HSAC)
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.