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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2001 Jan;16(1):39-44.

Prevalence and pharmacological management of behavioural and psychological symptoms amongst dementia sufferers living in care environments.

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Centre for the Health of the Elderly, Wolfson Research Centre, Newcastle General Hospital, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6BE, UK.



Behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia (BPSD) are a common reason for placement in long term care and are often associated with indiscriminate prescription of psychotropic medication.


To determine the prevalence of BPSD in care environments, their relationship with severity of dementia and the pattern of psychotropic medication.


Two hundred and thirty-one elderly residents (39% living in social care facilities and 61% in nursing home care) were assessed using a range of standardised psychiatric schedules. Additional information about the residents and medication was obtained from professional carers.


Overall 90% of residents had dementia, 79% of whom had clinically significant BPSD with 58% receiving psychotropic medication. There was no difference in the prevalence of BPSD between social and nursing care. Depression was most common in people with mild dementia, whilst delusions arose most frequently in those with moderate dementia and aberrant motor behaviour had a high prevalence in people with severe dementia.


BPSD are common in elderly people with dementia living in care environments. More rigorous guidelines are needed pertaining to the prescription and monitoring of medication and the need to disseminate skills regarding psychosocial management approaches to care staff.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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