Reducing dementia-related aggression through a staff education intervention

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This article presents findings from a research study that examined the impact of a staff education programme on aggression as displayed by people with dementia living in residential aged care. The staff education programme was designed to change staff attitudes and perceptions towards their care management of the person with dementia. A simple interrupted time series, with the resident acting as his/her own comparison, was used to measure residents' aggressive behaviour both before and after the education intervention - Emotional Responses as Quality Indicators (ERIC). Forty-three residents and 85 staff were involved in the study. Staff attitudes to their work were assessed before and six weeks after the education intervention using the Attitude to Elderly Severely Mentally Infirm Care Scale. Findings indicate that people with dementia display cues about impending physical aggression, but such cues are often ignored by staff, as they may not see or understand anger as a legitimate human emotion within the context of the disease process.

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