Objective: To provide an overview of non-pharmacological interventions for behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia (BPSD).
Design: Systematic overview of reviews.
Data sources: PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, CINAHL and PsycINFO (2009-March 2015).
Eligibility criteria: Systematic reviews (SRs) that included at least one comparative study evaluating any non-pharmacological intervention, to treat BPSD.
Data extraction: Eligible studies were selected and data extracted independently by 2 reviewers.The AMSTAR checklist was used to assess the quality of the SRs.
Data analysis: Extracted data were synthesised using a narrative approach.
Results: 38 SRs and 129 primary studies were identified, comprising the following categories of non-pharmacological interventions: (1) sensory stimulation interventions (25 SRs, 66 primary studies) that encompassed: shiatsu and acupressure, aromatherapy, massage/touch therapy, light therapy, sensory garden and horticultural activities, music/dance therapy, dance therapy, snoezelen multisensory stimulation therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation; (2) cognitive/emotion-oriented interventions (13 SRs; 26 primary studies) that included cognitive stimulation, reminiscence therapy, validation therapy, simulated presence therapy; (3) behaviour management techniques (6 SRs; 22 primary studies); (4) Multicomponent interventions (3 SR; four primary studies); (5) other therapies (5 SRs, 15 primary studies) comprising exercise therapy, animal-assisted therapy, special care unit and dining room environment-based interventions.
Conclusions: A large number of non-pharmacological interventions for BPSD were identified. The majority of the studies had great variation in how the same type of intervention was defined and applied, the follow-up duration, the type of outcome measured, usually with modest sample size. Overall, music therapy and behavioural management techniques were effective for reducing BPSD.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; BPSD; Behavioral and psychological symptoms in dementia; Non-pharmacological intervention.
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