The investigation and comparison of the underlying needs of common disruptive behaviours in patients with Alzheimer's disease

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Abstract

Background:

Management of the disruptive behaviours is one of the most challenging aspects of caring for patients with Alzheimer's dementia (PwAD). The underlying needs of disruptive behaviours in PwAD had rarely been studied, especially the comparison of the underlying needs of disruptive behaviours in PwAD have never been mentioned.

Aims and Objectives:

The purpose of this study was to investigate and compare the underlying needs of five common disruptive behaviours including hoarding, aggressive behaviour, repetitive behaviour, altered eating behaviour and delusion in PwAD, as perceived by family caregivers, and to relate these needs from the perspective of Maslow's hierarchy.

Methods:

An exploratory research design with qualitative data collection techniques was employed. Informed consent was obtained from each participant prior to the data collection. A total of 65 pairs of caregiver–patient with Alzheimer's disease participated in the study. A semi-structured interview guide was used during the interview, and the directed content analysis method was conducted to analyse data.

Results:

Four themes related to the underlying needs of the five selected disruptive behaviours emerged from the data, and these included a desire for comfort (physical and psychological), a desire for security (psychological and economic), a need for a sense of belonging (including a need to connect with the outside world and a need for attention) and a need for self-control. These behaviour features were found closely related to Maslow's hierarchy model of human needs.

Conclusion:

Although the data were gathered from the caregivers, and the views of the patients were thus not included in the analysis, the findings provide information for health providers that can enable them to better understand the underlying needs of common disruptive behaviours in patients with Alzheimer's disease and thus help develop better patient-centred care plans.

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