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Journal Article


Speziale J, Black E, Coatsworth-Puspoky R, Ross T, O'Regan T. Gerontologist 2009; 49(4): 570-576.


(Copyright © 2009, Oxford University Press)






PURPOSE: The Gentle Persuasive Approaches (GPA) curriculum was developed as an adjunct to other educational initiatives that were part of Ontario, Canada's Alzheimer Strategy. GPA emphasizes that an individual's unique personal history has a direct application to the interpretation of and response to their behavior. It incorporates strategies into geriatric patient care to assist staff to respond effectively to verbal and physical expressions of need. Design and Methods: A pre- and postintervention approach was used to evaluate the effectiveness of GPA: (a) Staff Satisfaction Surveys immediately after GPA training and after 3 months, (b) risk event profiling to monitor aggressive behavior rates, (c) occupational health and safety records pre- and post-GPA training, and (d) Residential Assessment Instrument-Mental Health indicators pre- and post-GPA training.

RESULTS: Surveys revealed that GPA training significantly improved staff's response to challenging behaviors, understanding of how brain changes impact behavior, and learning strategies to respond to challenging behaviors. Specific body containment techniques were less employed on geriatric patients who experience responsive behaviors. Pre- and post-physical aggression rates declined over the 6-month period following GPA training. The training did not appear to impact occupational injury rates. Implications: GPA appears to be a useful and positive approach for providing care to an inpatient geriatric psychiatry population. Specific body containment techniques may be less useful when employed with patients who have responsive behaviors. The program evaluation suggests that application of the GPA curriculum may be extended to patients with diagnoses other than dementia.

Language: en


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