The needs of older people with dementia in residential care

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2006 Jan;21(1):43-9. doi: 10.1002/gps.1421.


Background: People with dementia often move into care homes as their needs become too complex or expensive for them to remain in their own homes. Little is known about how well their needs are met within care homes.

Method: The aim of this study was to identify the unmet needs of people with dementia in care and the characteristics associated with high levels of needs. Two hundred and thirty-eight people with dementia were recruited from residential care homes nationally. Needs were identified using the Camberwell Assessment of Needs for the Elderly (CANE).

Results: Residents with dementia had a mean of 4.4 (SD 2.6) unmet and 12.1 (SD 2.6) met needs. Environmental and physical health needs were usually met. However, sensory or physical disability (including mobility problems and incontinence) needs, mental health needs, and social needs, such as company and daytime activities, were often unmet. Unmet needs were associated with psychological problems, such as anxiety and depression, but not with severity of dementia or level of dependency.

Conclusion: Mental health services and residential home staff need to be aware that many needs remain unmet and much can be done to improve the quality of life of the residents with dementia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety Disorders / complications
  • Anxiety Disorders / nursing
  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / complications
  • Depressive Disorder / nursing
  • England
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Services for the Aged
  • Homes for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Social Behavior Disorders / nursing
  • Social Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Wales