Dementia in the incarcerated elderly adult: innovative solutions to promote quality care

J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2014 Dec;26(12):640-8. doi: 10.1002/2327-6924.12189. Epub 2014 Nov 10.


Purpose: To provide an overview of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and diagnostic considerations of Alzheimer's disease (AD) with a special focus on elderly prison inmates. Multiple therapeutic interventions currently used for inmates with AD and a brief protocol for clinicians working with this population are provided.

Data sources: Review of scientific literature.

Conclusions: Early detection and appropriate treatment of AD and other dementias are particularly challenging inside of correctional institutions, and a lack of prison-specific guidelines for AD leaves clinicians struggling to deliver innovative, quality care to a vulnerable population of elderly inmates.

Implications for practice: Clinicians working in prisons can promote optimal safety and health for each inmate through early diagnosis and treatment of those with dementia. Researchers studying dementia need to include the large incarcerated population in the United States in ongoing research and guideline development.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Prisoners; activities of daily living, prisoner activities of daily living (PADL); dementia; elderly; prisons.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dementia / nursing
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Prisoners*
  • Prisons / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Quality of Life*
  • United States