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Postgrad Med. 1991 Sep 15;90(4):45-9.

Managing the care of patients with dementia. How to maximize level of functioning and minimize behavior problems.

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Department of Psychiatry, J. Hillis Miller Health Center, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville 32610-0256.


Effective treatment of patients with dementia involves supporting and educating the primary caregiver, uncovering and correcting the underlying cause of any decompensation that may occur, and deciding when drug therapy is appropriate. Caregivers must be taught how to cope with the patient's denial and how to modify the patient's environment so that it is safe and easy to understand. Pharmacologic therapy for depression accompanying dementia can improve a patient's quality of life and independence considerably; drugs may also be of help in dealing with patients who resist care. Psychotic symptoms usually do not require pharmacologic treatment, and hypnotics should, if possible, be avoided as a solution to sleep problems.

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