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Geriatr Nurs. 2007 Sep-Oct;28(5):283-8.

Assisted living nursing practice: the language of dementia: theories and interventions.

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College of Nursing, New York University, New York, USA.


The person with dementia uses behavior to communicate, but their behavior is altered by the combination of neurological damage and impairment, altered interpersonal relationships and reactions of others, and the individual's loss or weakening of their lifelong defenses or coping mechanisms. This article discusses the routes by which behavior can be understood and describes a constellation of needs of a person with dementia that has a unique fit with person-centered care. Three evidence-based models (theories) and interventions specific to dementia behaviors are discussed: the Need-Driven Dementia-Compromised Behavior Model, the Progressively Lowered Stress Threshold Model, and the utilization of self-identity roles. Montessori-based activities are another approach to person-centered dementia care that respect, as do the models, the dignity, worthiness and interests of the person afflicted with dementia. The models discussed in this article all seek to improve the quality of life of the person with dementia. Other than those at the profound end stage of dementia, most sufferers can communicate feelings. Subjective quality of life must be determined based on the self-report of the person suffering with dementia so that treatment interventions and effectiveness are grounded in that person's reality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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