Strategies for reducing dementia's troubling symptoms

Professors from Nursing, Medicine outline six-step process in JAMA

The first behavioral warning signs of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, if identified early, can be effectively managed without medication, according to an article co-authored by two Johns Hopkins University professors and published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the article, professors Laura N. Gitlin of the School of Nursing and Constantine G. Lyketsos of the School of Medicine, along with University of Michigan associate professor Helen C. Kales, outline a six-step approach to help clinicians identify and effectively manage most behavioral symptoms of dementia.

It includes screening for symptoms early, choosing proper interventions, and following the patient's progress over time.

"This six-step process should be a routine part of regular health care for individuals with dementia," says Gitlin, who directs the Center for Innovative Care in Aging at the School of Nursing. "It should be undertaken in any clinical setting involved in caring for someone with dementia, including primary care and memory clinics, as well as in hospitals, assisted living, and nursing facilities."

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