Managing agitated behaviour in older people

Nurs Older People. 2012 Sep;24(7):33-6. doi: 10.7748/nop.24.7.33.s11.


Older people diagnosed with dementia can have complex needs, especially when they exhibit agitated behaviour. Patients with agitated behaviour challenge the delivery of health care. Often the behaviour is a symptom of unmet needs in this population (Dewing 2010). It is important for nurses to understand the underlying causes and apply evidence-based interventions in their nursing practice to promote health, safety and the highest quality of life possible. This article defines and classifies agitated behaviours, discusses implications for their management and then presents evidence-based interventions nurses can use. The interventions are categorised according to each of the five senses.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Behavioral Symptoms / nursing*
  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Humans
  • Psychomotor Agitation / nursing*
  • Sensory Art Therapies / methods*
  • Sensory Art Therapies / nursing