Nonpharmacologic Approaches to Dementia-Related Behaviors

April 12, 2013 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Because antipsychotic medications were not developed with the intention of managing behavioral complications of neurologic diseases, nonpharmacologic behavioral management should be attempted before medications are prescribed, writes a columnist in the March 2013 Caring for the Ages. However, there is no “one size fits all” approach, cautions the author, Jeffrey Nichols, M.D. He offers the scenario of an elderly resident calling out for his or her mother as an example: “Why do human beings usually call out for their mother? Because they are hungry or soiled or in pain or lonely,” Nichols writes. “These are all problems that have different solutions but don’t require a psychiatric medication.” He stresses that the interdisciplinary care team needs to develop an entirely new system of care that should be implemented for residents who might not necessarily need medication.

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