Non-pharmacological Interventions for Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Dementia in Residential Aged Care Settings: An Umbrella Review


International Journal of Nursing Studies





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Background: Prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms amongst people living with dementia in residential aged care is high. Their presence is associated with poorer quality of life for residents and higher burden of care for staff. Existing reviews have not focused on the evaluation of efficacy of non-pharmacological interventions in specific population settings (community vs. residential aged care). Objectives: To determine the efficacy of non-pharmacological interventions to manage neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia in residential aged care settings. Design: An umbrella review was conducted. Data sources: PubMed/Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library and Web of Science were searched for eligible reviews in December 2019, February 2020 and June 2021. Methods: Two authors independently screened titles and abstracts, and assessed full-text reviews for eligibility. The quality of reviews was appraised with ‘AMSTAR-2: A Measurement tool to assess systematic reviews’. Narrative summaries grouped findings by intervention domains. Results: From 1362 systematic reviews identified, 26 met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 10 focused on person tailored interventions, six on sensory stimulation interventions, three on environmental interventions, three on exercise interventions, and four on multiple intervention types. Quality ratings identified reviews to be of mostly moderate quality (73%). The majority or reviews reported positive results but not all were statistically significant. Tailored interventions that included music and social elements appeared to be most beneficial for depressive symptoms and mood. Furthermore, outcome measures and intervention protocols were highly heterogeneous across interventions. Conclusions: The findings of this umbrella review suggest that combining different types of interventions and tailoring them to the personal experiences of the resident is recommended. A more standardised approach for outcome measures used is vital to assess efficacy and allow comparison of future non-pharmacological interventions. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Depression; Elderly; Long-Term Care Facility; Mood Scales; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Psychiatric Symptoms

Indexed Terms

Behavioural symptoms; Dementia; Intervention studies; Residential facilities; Nursing care; Depression; Systematic review; Elder Care; Intervention; Psychiatric Symptoms; Residential Care Institutions; Nursing; Reminiscence

Study Type

Systematic Review; Quantitative Methods



Document Type