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Caring for relatives with agitation at home: A qualitative study of positive coping strategies

  • Juanita Hoe (a1), Leah Jesnick (a2), Rebecca Turner (a2), Gerard Leavey (a3) and Gill Livingston (a1)...
Abstract
Background

Trials of psychological interventions for reducing agitation in people with dementia living at home have been unsuccessful.

Aims

To inform future interventions by identifying successful strategies of family carers with relatives with dementia and agitation living at home.

Method

Qualitative in-depth individual interviews were performed with 18 family carers. We used thematic analysis to identify emerging themes.

Results

Carers described initial surprise and then acceptance that agitation is a dementia symptom and learned to respond flexibly. Their strategies encompassed: prevention of agitation by familiar routine; reduction of agitation by addressing underlying causes and using distraction; prevention of escalation by risk enablement, not arguing; and control of their emotional responses by ensuring their relative's safety then walking away, carving out some time for themselves and using family and services for emotional and practical help.

Conclusions

These strategies can be manualised and tested in future randomised controlled trials for clinical effectiveness in reducing agitation in people with dementia living at home.

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Copyright
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Juanita Hoe, Division of Psychiatry, University College London, 6th Floor, Maple House, 149 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7NF, UK. Email: j.hoe@ucl.ac.uk
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Caring for relatives with agitation at home: A qualitative study of positive coping strategies

  • Juanita Hoe (a1), Leah Jesnick (a2), Rebecca Turner (a2), Gerard Leavey (a3) and Gill Livingston (a1)...
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