Conference Abstracts

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Nursing therapeutic interventions for elderly residents with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and symptoms of dementia.

McDonald, T. A., 2006

RCNA Conference, Cairns Queensland


Background: A study of associations between nursing interventions and therapeutic outcomes for veterans of military service, with PTSD and dementia, revealed positive results to be gained through nurse-initiated strategies. This approach is strongly associated with improvements in residents’ agitation and aggression; sleep patterns, mental health, communication and relationships as well as being related to improvements in bladder and bowel management and maintenance of body weight.

Objective: To identify the effects of nursing interventions on PTSD compounded by dementia.

Methods: Nursing therapeutic strategies were analysed in terms of health outcomes gained by this group of residents with challenging behaviours. In the confused, elderly veteran population manifestations of severe PTSD can result in challenging behaviours that often do not respond to counselling and memory re-construction approaches.

Resident outcomes analysed: sleep patterns, agitation and aggression, mental health, communication, relationships, body weight and function, safety risks, independence, pain levels, bladder and bowel management. Nursing interventions analysed: pharmaceutical interventions; Nursing interventions such as physical and emotional support, psychiatric and protection strategies; Food and nutrition strategies; Activities programs.

Results: Most improved resident attributes: agitation, communication and relationships. Overall mental health either improved or was unchanged. Improvements were seen in both bladder and bowel management which related to resident willingness to participate in social, physical and intellectual activities programs.

Conclusions: Nursing therapeutic interventions for elderly veterans with PTSD and dementia can reduce periods of physical agitation, relieve anxiety, stabilise sleep patterns, treat depression and maintain normal body weight. This study shows that residents with PTSD can benefit from nursing therapeutic interventions that enable physical health to recover and be maintained with adequate rest, interesting things to do, good food intake, sleep and the maintenance of personal dignity.

CITATION McDonald, T (2006) Nursing therapeutic interventions for elderly residents with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and symptoms of dementia. Royal College of Nursing Australia Annual Conference, Cairns International Hotel, Cairns Queensland. 12-14 July.


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