Application of the Wilbarger Protocol in Reducing Agitated Behavior in Long Term Care Residents with Dementia
Int J Alzheimers Dement
Aims: Exploratory research was conducted on the use of a sensory integration technique known as the Wilbarger Protocol with dementia patients in a secured long-term care unit to learn about the impact this may have on agitated behavior.
Methods: Ten randomly selected research participants from a 28-bed secured unit participated in a single case design study that involved a thirty-day baseline phase and a thirty-day intervention phase. Staff completed daily charting related to frequency of behavior, intensity was measured with use of the Agitated Behavior Scale also completed once daily.
Results: There was not a noted statistical difference, based on calculation of effect size, between baseline phase and intervention phase in any of the participants in frequency or intensity of behavior. Observations during actual implementation and staff interviews post study indicated efficacy of the technique. However, this effect did not continue throughout the duration of the targeted shift time.
Conclusion: More studies need to be conducted related to incorporating sensory integration with people who have dementia-related agitated behavior. According to direct observation and staff interviews the technique was helpful for short periods of time but effects “wore off” in a matter of minutes. Within the parameters of this study there was no statistically significant difference between the documentation of participants that was completed during the baseline phase versus the intervention phase indicating that the technique as implemented was not overall effective in reducing agitated behavior for extended periods of time.
Keywords: Agitated behavior; Dementia; Sensory integration; Wilbarger Protocol