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  • Publication # 13-RA007

Care processes in nursing home and residential long-term care settings may benefit people with dementia

Elderly/Long-Term Care

According to a new research review from AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program comparing characteristics and related outcomes of nursing homes and other residential long-term care settings for people with dementia, pleasant sensory stimulation, such as calm music, may reduce agitation for people with dementia. Also, while more research is necessary, some evidence suggests that protocols for individualized care, such as for showering and bathing, can reduce pain, discomfort, agitation and aggression. Functional skill training may also improve physical function in basic activities of daily living. Overall, outcomes for people with dementia do not differ between nursing homes and residential care/assisted living settings, except for people needing medical care, who may benefit more from a nursing home setting. More than 5 million Americans—as many as one in every eight individuals ages 65 years or older—have dementia. It is the most common reason for entry into long-term care settings.

More research is needed to support decisionmaking on the care choices and questions faced by people with dementia and their families. To access this review, Comparison of Characteristics of Nursing Homes and Other Residential Long-Term Care Settings for People With Dementia, and other materials that explore the effectiveness and risks of treatment options for various conditions, visit AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program Web site at

Page last reviewed April 2013
Internet Citation: Care processes in nursing home and residential long-term care settings may benefit people with dementia: Elderly/Long-Term Care. April 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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