Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Dementia, a clinical condition that affects the psychological ability of patients, is distinguished by a significant overall decline in cognitive function that results in distorted perception. Guiding nursing practice in the long-term care (LTC) setting to decrease the unnecessary use of psychotropics is critical because doing so relates to the patients' quality of life and safety. In the LTC facility that served as the practicum site for this study, there was an observed overuse of psychotropic medications in the care of patients with dementia. The practice-focused question guiding this project asked whether a nursing staff development program would decrease the use of psychotropics in dementia patients. The purpose of the project was to inform nursing staff through an educational program on alternative methods to use when dementia patients exhibit increased disturbing behaviors. The conceptual framework for the project was the knowledge-to-action model. The nursing staff development program had a positive effect on the nursing staff as evidenced by a statistically significant improvement in knowledge and attitudes about the use of psychotropics in caring for dementia patients. The use of psychotropic in the dementia patient decreased from 22.32% to 15.77%, the lowest score achieved by the organization in 5 years. The dementia patients benefited from this project and its positive social change implications for nursing practice by decreasing dementia patients use of psychotropics, minimizing their side effects to the patients and providing an overall feeling of well-being.