A systematic review of staff training interventions to reduce the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia

Ageing Res Rev. 2013 Jan;12(1):354-64. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2012.06.005. Epub 2012 Jul 20.


Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are highly prevalent and problematic in care settings. Given the limited effectiveness of medical treatments, training care staff to understand and manage these symptoms is essential for the safety and quality of life of people with dementia. This review evaluated the effectiveness of staff training interventions for reducing BPSD. A systematic literature search identified 273 studies. Twenty studies, published between 1998 and 2010, were found to meet the inclusion criteria. Overall, there was some evidence that staff training interventions can impact on BPSD: twelve studies resulted in significant symptom reductions, four studies found positive trends and four studies found no impact on symptoms. No links were found between the theoretical orientation of training programmes and their effectiveness. Training was also found to impact on the way staff behaved towards residents. A quality screening, using pre-specified criteria, revealed numerous methodological weaknesses and many studies did not adhere to the recommended guidelines for the conduct of cluster randomised controlled trials. There is an urgent need for more high quality research and evidence-based practice in BPSD.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Dementia / rehabilitation*
  • Education
  • Geriatrics / education*
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Medical Staff / education*
  • Psychiatry / education*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic