Implementing Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Dementia

It is becoming increasingly evident that pharmacological interventions should be a last resort when treating patients with dementia. Due to a lack of resources and staff most skilled nursing home facilities overlook non-pharmacological options. However, studies have shown that non-pharmacological treatments are a safer alternative for patients. While pharmacological interventions are an effortless option for nursing homes and hospitals, they fail to improve the state of the resident. These medications might look like they are improving the condition of the patient however, these drugs sedate them as their condition worsens. In some cases, it could cause sufferers of cognitive disorders to deteriorate rapidly and act out.

The staff at a facility may often focus on the cognitive deterioration of the sufferers of dementia. As such, other symptoms that are linked to dementia may be overlooked. These symptoms generally manifest themselves in the forms of agitation, aggression, eating disorders, loss of appetite, and abnormal vocalization. Many of these symptoms may also grow to be the cause of death. For example, eating disorders and loss of appetite can lead to malnutrition. Furthermore, the use of medications have side-effects including sedation, psychosis, tremors, and may even lead to falls. More recent cases show that the pharmacological treatment of dementia leads to reduced resident well-being and quality of life, and may even accelerate cognitive decline.


Therefore, a suitable alternative would be to use non-pharmacological approaches rather than to administer sedative medications as a first line of treatment. Non- pharmacological alternatives may include behavioral therapy, reality orientation, cognitive therapy, validation therapy, aroma therapy, and multisensory therapies. While these are all great alternatives, many facilities are unable to provide such alternatives due to a lack of resources and staff. As a result, when a patient suffers from dementia, facility staff members may give the patient medication since this takes the least amount of time and costs less money.

By law, a nursing home facility is required to have a certain amount of staff members at all times. However, facilities do not always comply with these requirements. While one may think that placing their loved ones in the care of a skilled nursing facility is for the best, this is not always the case. The care your loved one receives should not be based on what is most convenient for a nursing home or residential care facility.

A lack of time, resources, or staff should never be the reason residents fail to receive the treatment to which they are entitled. If you feel that your loved one is not receiving the high level of care they deserve, our knowledgeable team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi is here to help you. We believe a resident’s comfort and health should not be compromised. Contact us today at (888) 606-3453 for a free consultation. We serve cities all across Northern and Southern California.