The management of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) in patients who reside in nursing homes can be challenging. These neuropsychiatric behaviors can include but are not limited to aggression, agitation, delirium, depression, and psychosis (Cloak & Al Khalili, 2022). Patients with BPSD often have difficulty expressing their needs due to the disease process, resulting in further complexity when managing behaviors. There are no psychotropic medications to treat BPSD specifically, but many are often prescribed to treat the symptoms or behaviors exhibited by patients. The use of psychotropics, especially long-term can cause a myriad of adverse effects and should be used with caution. Implementing alternative non-pharmacological patient-centered interventions as first-line treatment can assist in decreasing the over-use of many psychotropic medications, ultimately providing safer patient outcomes.

The purpose of this benchmark project is to incorporate non-pharmacological interventions as first-line treatment of BPSD with the aim of decreasing the use of psychotropic medications. A PICOT question was formulated which helped guide a systematic search of the literature to determine how the reduction of psychotropic medications and use of non-pharmacological interventions as first-line treatment affect those with BPSD. The non-pharmacological interventions to be utilized in this benchmark project are baby dolls and a stocked aquarium in a nursing home with patients diagnosed with BPSD. This benchmark project will be conducted over a three-month period. To evaluate the effectiveness of these non-pharmacological interventions a team of designated members in the nursing home, known as a Quality Assurance (QA) team, under the direction of myself as the project coordinator, will monitor behavioral charting, incident reporting, and narrative documentation found in the electronic health records (EHR) which will include what interventions were used along with their outcomes.

Date of publication

Winter 12-4-2023

Document Type

MSN Capstone Project



Persistent identifier



Masters of Science in Nursing - Education