There is a need to redefine and improve the treatment and care given in residences for the elderly from a non-pharmacological perspective that fosters person-centred care. In particular, the psychological and behavioural symptoms associated with dementia require a multidisciplinary evaluation to design appropriate interventions. The objective is to evaluate behavioural disorders in a group of residing elderly people and analyse whether the gender of the participants influences the presence of these behaviours. In the methodology, the group is consisted of 450 people, 73.6% women and 26.4% men with an average age of 86.82 (WD=8.22). The results show that women have a greater risk of presenting behavioural disorders. Men tend to present higher levels of anxiety, lack of inhibition, sleeping disorders, and loss of appetite; while women present more affective symptoms such as anxiety, euphoria, or apathy, or more psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations, and more aberrant motor behaviours. This influence is only significant for delusions and aberrant motor behaviour. The discussion and conclusions of the study show that gender influences behavioural disorders. This type of research work is very scarce because may be of great interest to develop and improve preventive strategies and non-pharmacological use of these symptoms in residence for the elderly settings.
The behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia are very predominant in the disease, aggravating the suffering of people with dementia and increasing the physical and emotional burden professional caregivers are exposed to. Despite being so present in nursing homes, professional caregivers do not always have adequate training or the tools needed to deal with these situations. Objectives: to determine what knowledge professional caregivers in residential centres have about behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia; to evaluate how behavioural and psychological symptoms associated with dementia are managed by professional caregivers in residential centres; and to know the training needs perceived by professional caregivers in behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. Professionals (in the fields of psychology, nursing coordination and geriatric assistance) from residential centres for the elderly were interviewed and a qualitative analysis of the interviews was carried out. The results show that most professionals do not know the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia or how to cope with them and have low levels of knowledge. This study highlights the need to design and provide ongoing training in the residential setting on the management of these symptoms.
This pilot study aims to analyze the effectiveness of a type of non-pharmacological intervention such as the educating and training of professional caregivers on behavioral alterations and prescription of psychotropic drugs of older adults in nursing homes. One hundred and forty-five people from two nursing homes were randomized to either treatment (educational training program for healthcare professionals) or a no-treatment group. Twenty-two professional caregivers in the experimental group received 20 h of a training program. Five data collection points were collected (pre and post, and three follow-ups, all six months apart). Intervention consisted of the behavioral alterations and psychopharmacological treatment. The analysis of variance for repeated measures showed significant differences in the time-group interaction for the educational program’s effectiveness in reducing behavior alterations and psycho-pharmaceuticals’ record. The results show that an improvement in the educating and training of professional caregivers can reduce behavioral alterations (F3,407 = 9.29, p < 0.001, η2= 0.063) and prescription of psychotropic drugs (F2,10 = 18.90, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.117). In addition, these effects are maintained over time. Educating health professionals on ways to care for residents who present behavioral alterations may be one alternative for improving the quality of care that residents receive. Non-pharmacological interventions, besides being individualized and adapted to the needs and experiences of individuals, achieve effects that last longer at low cost. An educational program shows new alternatives to pharmacological intervention, achieving a reduction in behavioral alterations without the costs and effects that psychopharmaceuticals entail.