Vocally Disruptive Behavior in the Elderly: A Helpful Strategy

TheRubins.com. Summary of studies and articles finding overuse of psychiatric drugs to quiet verbally disruptive behavior by nursing home patients, which suggests study and implementation of a behavioral approach to managing and decreasing this behavior.

Calls for a two pronged or complementary strategy: ignore noisy behavior and at the same time, reinforce quiet behavior with extra stimulation.

Recommended caregiver behavior may include respectful reprimands and lectures to the vocally disruptive individual, coupled with caring behavior, including appropriate touching and holding of the individual, and appropriate conversation with the person to diminish the sense of social isolation often part of institutional living.

It calls for consistent delivery of the message that noisemaking is inappropriate, and social rewards and caring come from appropriate behavior. This message is delivered through the behavior of all caregivers, both family and professional care staff.

It advocates use of psychotropic medications in a cautious manner, only in appropriate in situations as prescribed by experienced geriatric physicians.

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