Unpacking the evidence: Interventions for reducing behavioral and psychological symptoms in people with dementia

Kate Laver, Lindy Clemson, Sally Bennett, Natasha A. Lannin, Henry Brodaty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Behaviors of concern and psychological symptoms such as depression, apathy, agitation, wandering, and resistance to care are common in people with dementia and can be challenging for the caregiver to manage. This narrative review summarizes details of interventions found to be effective in reducing behaviors of concern and psychological symptoms. Methods: This review is based on an existing meta-analysis. The published meta-analysis included a large number of studies which ranged in efficacy. Studies were only included in this review if a moderate or large positive effect was found (Cohen's d ≥ 0.40). Information regarding the main aims of the intervention, dose, type of health professional providing the intervention, and the components of the intervention program were extracted. Results: Interventions with a positive effect contained multiple components including caregiver education, skills training, and engagement in meaningful occupations. Several of the interventions were delivered by an occupational therapist or were developed with extensive input from occupational therapists. Conclusion: This paper provides a description of effective interventions and can be utilized to guide the implementation of evidence-based practice in dementia care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-309
Number of pages16
JournalPhysical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral symptoms
  • Caregivers
  • Dementia
  • Occupational therapy

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