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Gerontologist. 1998 Aug;38(4):456-62.

Special care units for demented patients: a multicenter study.

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Geriatric Research Group, Brescia, Italy.


The local government of Regione Lombardia, Italy, recently (1994) funded a clinical and research project specifically devoted to dementia (Piano Alzheimer). A central role in this project has been reserved for the special care units (SCUs) for demented patients with behavioral disturbances. In order to evaluate their effectiveness, eight SCUs took part in this study. A specifically designed care program, focusing on environment and staff, was implemented in each SCU. Cognitive, functional, and somatic health status, and use of psychotropic drugs and of physical restraints were assessed at baseline, and after 3 and 6 months in 55 consecutively admitted patients. The data show an overall reduction in behavioral disturbances and a decreased use of psychotropic drugs and physical restraints.

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