Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Barbara Niedz


The prescription rate of antipsychotics in patients with dementia varies between 20% and 50% for the common and troubling neuropsychiatric symptoms experienced by patients with dementia. The use of these antipsychotic medications has been linked with increased risk of morbidity and mortality due to associated Parkinsonism, over sedation, gait disturbances, cognitive decline, and cardiovascular adverse events. The purpose of this project was to assess whether development of an evidence-based clinical practice guideline (CPG) for a long-term care facility would increase awareness about issues that govern the safe use of antipsychotic medications. The conceptual framework for the project was Watson's model of caring. The Fineout-Overholt tool was used to rank and score information retrieved following an extensive literature review. An expert panel made up of 2 medical doctors and 4 nurse practitioners had 100% agreement that objectives were clear; content was relevant and easy to understand; the CPG was well-organized and easy to follow; and knowledge learned would be used in practice. From 66.6% to 83.3% agreed that the CGP led to an improved understanding of dementia, neuropsychiatric symptoms, medication adverse events, and nonpharmacologic interventions. The expert panel agreed to launch the CPG upon implementation of an educational program for frontline nursing staff and a behavioral log to track occurrence and frequency of behaviors and the use of nonpharmacologic interventions and their effectiveness in managing behaviors. Safe implementation of this CPG might be adapted to other long-term facilities to optimize dementia care, which would bring about a positive social change.