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Br J Community Nurs. 2014 Feb;19(2):72-7.

Pharmacological versus non-pharmacological approaches to managing challenging behaviours for people with dementia.

Author information

  • 1Registered Nurse, Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service, Alzheimer¬ís ACT, Kaleen, Australia.
  • 2Associate Professor, Disciplines of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Australia.
  • 3Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Australia.


When people with dementia demonstrate challenging behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, the levels of stress experienced by their carers increases. Furthermore, there is an increased likelihood that the person will be prematurely admitted to a residential care facility. The adverse side-effects that have been associated with the use of antipsychotic medications in older people with dementia have given rise to a renewed emphasis on the use of non-pharmacological approaches to manage challenging behaviours. This article describes the approaches taken by the multi-disciplinary team of a Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service in Australia to support people with dementia who have challenging behaviours by using non-pharmacological interventions.

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