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Factors Associated with Aggression in Elders Identified

Treating underlying conditions may reduce violence in nursing homes

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Depression, delusions and hallucinations may be associated with physically and verbally aggressive behavior among nursing home residents, according to a study in the June 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Ralph Leonard, M.D., M.P.H., of CALM-MD, LLC in St. Louis Park, Minn., and colleagues conducted a study of 103,344 nursing home residents with dementia in five states who were 60 or older, of whom 7,120 (6.9 percent) were reported to have been physically aggressive in the week before the assessment.

Depression, delusions, hallucinations and constipation were all associated with physical aggression, while urinary tract infection, respiratory tract infections, fevers, reported pain and participation in recreational activities were not associated with physically aggressive behavior. Similar correlates, with the exception of constipation, were identified for verbal aggression.

"Physical or verbal aggression among nursing home residents with cognitive impairment may be a major cause of distress among staff and other residents injured by the aggressor, as well as to the aggressor," the authors conclude. "All of these factors may be amenable to intervention and, in addition to reducing the morbidity associated with these entities themselves, effective treatment may reduce the risk of violence in nursing homes."

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