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Int Psychogeriatr. 1993 Fall;5(2):169-80.

Can changes in ward routines affect the severity of dementia? A controlled prospective study.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, University of UmeĆ„, Sweden.


An extensive new caring program--including the introduction of Individual Care Plans and changes in ward organization, caring techniques, and caring philosophy--was introduced at two psychogeriatric wards with severely demented patients. The hypotheses were that the patients (n = 31) would improve in psychosocial capacity and orientation and the staff work load would decline in contrast to two other wards with a similar clientele (n = 31). After ten months the milieu was more "homelike," routines were more flexible, and the staff communicated more with the patients. However, the hypotheses were not proven. All patients in both groups deteriorated in ADL capacity, orientation, and behavior. The patients in the program wards became significantly more restless and disoriented and ate less than the patients in the contrast wards. The conclusion is that, despite optimal care, a humanistic approach, and support from staff, the progression of dementia symptoms is inevitable.

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