Presentation of Preferred Stimuli as an Intervention for Aggression in a Person With Dementia

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Abstract

Aggressive behaviors in elderly nursing home residents increase the risk of injury and stress for both residents and staff. Aggression is commonly treated with antipsychotic medications despite the risks of serious iatrogenic effects. This single-case design study evaluated a nonpharmacological intervention that involved making a preferred item continuously available and regularly orienting the participant to that item during caregiving sessions. The presentation of preferred stimuli was effective in reducing both physical and verbal aggression in the resident. The findings are significant, given the paucity of studies on nonpharmacological, restraint-free interventions for aggressive behaviors in elderly persons with dementia.

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