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Reducing verbal agitation in people with dementia: evaluation of an intervention based on the satisfaction of basic needs


Bédard, Annick, Landreville, Philippe, Voyer, Philippe, Verreault, René, Vézina, Jean


Aging & Mental Health, Volume: 15, No.: 7, Pages.: 855-865

Year of Publication



Objectives: Positive results have been reported with psychosocial interventions used to reduce verbal agitation (VA) in people with dementia, but there is no clear information regarding the proportion of persons who demonstrate significant behavioural improvement with such treatments. The main objectives of this pilot study are (a) to identify the proportion of persons with dementia who demonstrate significant behavioural improvement with a need-based intervention to reduce VA and (b) to further evaluate the effectiveness of this type of intervention.; Method: A single-group repeated measures design was used (N = 26). An individualized multicomponent intervention addressing needs for comfort, social interaction and sensory stimulation was applied by a therapist during 30 min sessions during the time of day when VA was most severe. The frequency and duration of VA were measured through computer-assisted direct observation several times before, during and after the intervention.; Results: A statistically significant reduction of the duration of VA during the intervention phase relative to other phases of the protocol was found. This effect was limited to the period during which the treatment is being applied. Half of the participants (54%) demonstrated considerable behavioural improvement during the intervention (50% reduction of symptoms) and those whose functioning is best preserved showed the best response to the intervention.; Conclusion: This need-based intervention appears promising for improving the behaviour of a considerable proportion of patients.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{B_dard_2011, doi = {10.1080/13607863.2011.569480}, url = {}, year = 2011, month = {sep}, publisher = {Informa {UK} Limited}, volume = {15}, number = {7}, pages = {855--865}, author = {Annick B{'{e}}dard and Philippe Landreville and Philippe Voyer and Ren{'{e}} Verreault and Jean V{'{e}}zina}, title = {Reducing verbal agitation in people with dementia: Evaluation of an intervention based on the satisfaction of basic needs}, journal = {Aging {&} Mental Health} }


aged, aged, 80 and over, behavior therapy, complications, dementia, female, humans, interpersonal relations, intervention studies, male, nursing, physiopathology, psychomotor agitation, therapy, treatment outcome, verbal behavior

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Before and After Study

Type of Outcomes


Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Behavioural Therapies