Impact of family visits on agitation in residents with dementia

K. Martin-Cook, L. Hynan, P. K. Chafetz, M. F. Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In an investigation of the impact of family visits on the behavior of 30 residents in dementia special care units, we found on direct observation that agitation decreased significantly during visits, but returned to the previous level within 30 minutes. No significant differences were found between visits by spouses or adult children. The premorbid quality of relationship was unrelated to family visitor enjoyment of visits or to differences between agitation level before and after visits. While 70 percent of visitors reported that they found visits pleasant (mean number of visits: 12.72 per month), 20 percent found visits unpleasant. Visitors' enjoyment or displeasure was significantly related to the difference between the number of pre-visit and post-visit agitated behaviors. Visitors indicated that the resident's mental status (33 percent) or difficulty communicating with the resident (30 percent) had the most negative impact on their visits. However, these factors appear amenable to education, suggesting that the quality of visits can be improved for visitor and resident with possibly greater positive impact on both.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-166
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Agitation
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Behaviors
  • Long-term care
  • Visiting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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