Reactions of Assisted Living Staff to Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia

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This study investigates the experiences of unlicensed staff providing care for older adults with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). The purpose of this study was to describe the types and frequency of BPSD reported by unlicensed caregivers and to describe reactions and training of the caregivers who provide care to residents with BPSD. Data were derived from 87 staff-resident dyads in twelve assisted living facilities (ALFs). Types and frequency of BPSD and staff reaction to BPSD were collected using standardized measures. Demographic data included amount of staff training related to caring for someone with BPSD. Dementia related behaviors and psychological symptoms were prevalent in the ALF residents, with memory related symptoms being the most frequently reported. Symptoms of depression in the ALF residents were less frequent yet accounted for the highest level of staff reaction. Limited training related to caring for residents with cognitive impairment was reported by staff. Developing ALF staff skills in identifying and managing depression in older adults with dementia may serve a dual purpose of improving quality of life for residents and for ALF staff.

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