Research: YANG and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 146


YANG and colleagues, School of Nursing, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China, have carried out a pilot study of acupressure for people with dementia.


Agitated behaviour is found in nearly half of all patients who have dementia. The presence of these behaviours increases the likelihood of injury, weakness, dehydration and lack of sleep and contributes to caregiver frustration and fatigue. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of acupressure in decreasing agitated behaviour associated with dementia.


This pilot study was designed with subjects receiving both acupressure and the control treatment. Participants were recruited from a nursing home caring specifically for patients with dementia. All the subjects were assigned to an experimental protocol and had a six-week acupressure treatment program. Baseline data were collected in the first week. Individual treatment sessions began at the second week of the study and lasted 15 minutes, twice a day, five days a week for four weeks. After a treatment-free period of one week, all the subjects served as controls undergoing a four-week control protocol consisting of companionship and conversation.


20 of the 31 subjects (64.5 %) completed the study. Comparison between the control and experimental phases indicated significant differences between the two groups on all outcome measures (Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory, daily agitation records about physical attack, verbal and non-verbal attack and non-physical attack) with better results found during the acupressure phase.


Acupressure is recommended as an efficacious and non-intrusive method for decreasing the agitation behaviours in patients with dementia.


Yang MH, Wu SC, Lin JG, Lin LC. The efficacy of acupressure for decreasing agitated behaviour in dementia: a pilot study. Journal of Clinical Nursing 16 (2): 308-315, Feb 2007.

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