Agitation and disruptive behaviour in people with dementia living in nursing homes is a widespread problem affecting the care of patients, staff satisfaction and the ability of staff to cope with providing care to these individuals. Agitation can be defined as 'inappropriate verbal, vocal or motor activity that is not explained by needs or confusion per se. It includes behaviour such as aimless wandering, pacing, cursing, screaming, biting and fighting'. There is a growing body of knowledge supporting relaxation techniques, diversion activities, music and massage to decrease agitation in people with dementia. A Canadian study of 41 people with mild to moderate dementia looked into the effectiveness of playing people their favourite music and hand massage in reducing agitated behaviours. Both treatments, individually and together, were effective at immediately reducing agitation and worked up to an hour after their use.
Hicks-Moore, Sandee L. and Robinson, Bryn A. - Favorite music and hand massage: two interventions to decrease agitation in residents with dementia Dementia March 2008, 7(1), 95-108