The research, published in International Psychogeriatrics and led by the University of Michigan, the University of Exeter and John Hopkins University, provided more specific guidance on the management of behavioural and psychological symptoms in people with Alzheimer’s Disease, giving specific and targeted treatment for psychosis and agitation.
Sally Copley, Director of Policy, Campaigns and Partnerships at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
‘Many people with dementia have behavioural and psychological symptoms, such as agitation and psychosis, which are distressing for them as well as their carers. A million people in the UK will have dementia by 2021, and around half of them will struggle with these kinds of symptoms.
‘We desperately need to find ways of reducing these symptoms without negatively impacting the person’s quality of life. Drug treatments can have harmful side-effects so it’s heartening to see these researchers advocating psychological interventions instead.
‘This study provides further evidence that people with dementia can manage their symptoms effectively with non-drug treatments, but now we need this theory to be put into practice. After decades of squeezed funding and a lack of training and resource, the current system is just not equipped for that.
‘Alzheimer’s Society has been campaigning to fix dementia care for many years, because unless the Government takes action we will be unable to make the shift away from anti-psychotic drugs and provide better care for people with dementia.’