Agitation and aggression are some of the most difficult behaviour symptoms to manage in older people living with dementia. These disruptive behaviours can lead to staff injury and burnout, decreased job satisfaction, as well as recruitment and retention challenges. Disruptive behaviours can also influence the quality of care received by residents. Therefore management of such behaviours is paramount to staff satisfaction and quality of care. Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies such as aromatherapy and massage have been applied to a range of health problems including dementia. Such therapies have become popular in residential care and in some cases additional cost for these therapies are invoiced to residents. While both aromatherapy and hand massage therapies have been reported to have some benefit in people with dementia, there are a number of limitations in the research design of reported studies. This study aimed to overcome some of the design problems of previous studies to investigate the effect of Aromatherapy (3% lavender angustifolia mist) with or without hand massage (five minutes with aqua cream) on disruptive behaviour in people with dementia living in residential aged care facilities (RACF). Sixty-one residents with a diagnosis of dementia and a history of disruptive behaviour from three RACF were randomized into three groups: (1) Combination (aromatherapy and hand massage), (2) Aromatherapy, (3) Control (placebo). The intervention was given twice a day, at two time periods, 9am to 11am and 2pm to 4pm, seven days a week for six weeks. Data (resident behaviour and cognition) were collected using three instruments: MMSE (pre and post intervention), Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI) and Revised Memory and Behaviour Problems Checklist (RMBPC) at 5 time periods: pre-intervention, week 2 and week 4, at the end of the intervention period (week 6), and 6 weeks post-intervention.
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