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Res Gerontol Nurs. 2012 Jul;5(3):174-84. doi: 10.3928/19404921-20120605-02. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Do sound levels and space contribute to agitation in nursing home residents with dementia?

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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, College of Nursing, Milwaukee, WI, USA.


Individuals with dementia living in nursing homes may be exposed to non-therapeutic levels of sound. There is insufficient research examining the relationship between sound levels, personal space, and agitation in people with dementia. Using an observational designed study, 53 participants from four southeastern Wisconsin nursing homes were observed; data on sound levels, space, and agitation levels were obtained. Sound was a significant predictor of agitation. The accumulation of sound predicted agitated behavior and explained 16% of the variance, F(5, 47) = 4.520, p < 0.002, and adjusted R(2) = 0.253. The findings suggest agitation may be a clue that sound in the environment is causing stress for residents with dementia.

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