Relationship between symptoms of depression and agitation in nursing home residents with dementia

Authors

  • Ladislav Volicer,

    Corresponding author
    1. 3rd Medical Faculty, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
    • School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
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  • Dinnus H.M. Frijters,

    1. EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Department of Nursing Home Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • Jenny T. Van der Steen

    Corresponding author
    1. EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Department of Public and Occupational Health, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    • EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Department of Nursing Home Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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L. Volicer, MD, PhD, School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA. E-mail: lvolicer@cas.usf.edu; J. T. Van der Steen, PhD, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Department of Nursing Home Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: j.vandersteen@vumc.nl

Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study is to analyze modifiable factors related to agitation of nursing home residents with dementia.

Methods

Relationship of agitation with three modifiable factors (depression, psychosis, and pain) was explored using longitudinal Minimum Data Set (MDS) information from 2032 residents of Dutch nursing homes. Presence of agitation and depression was ascertained using validated scales based on MDS information. Presence of psychosis and pain was ascertained from the individual MDS items.

Results

There was a significant correlation between MDS depression and agitation scores. Depression scores increased in residents whose agitation worsened and decreased in residents whose agitation improved. Psychosis scores (combination of delusions and hallucinations) also correlated with MDS depression scores, and psychosis scores increased in residents whose agitation worsened. Pain scores correlated with agitation scores, but the pain scores did not change with changes in agitation. Depression symptoms were present in 51% of residents, while psychotic symptoms were present only in 15% of residents, and two-thirds of these residents were also depressed.

Conclusion

These results indicate that depression may be the most common factor associated with agitation in nursing home residents with dementia. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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