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Improving anxiety assessment and management in people with dementia: Validation of an informant measure and pilot testing of a multi-component behavioural intervention.

Prof Elizabeth Beattie
Research Centre DCRC Carers and Consumers
Partner Institution University of Queensland
Project Description

People with dementia commonly experience behavioural and psychological symptoms (BPSD), which are often personally distressing to them and a challenge for their carers. Although anxiety is highly prevalent in those with dementia, it has not been well studied. In particular, the distinction between anxiety and agitation has not been clearly delineated, leading to conflation of these two constructs. Most interventions for anxiety have involved the use of psychotropic medications with significant adverse effects (including falls, stroke and death) and limited efficacy.

Accordingly, this project aims to:

1. Validate two measures of anxiety in persons with dementia. The first measure is the Geriatric Anxiety Inventory (GAI), which is a self-report 20-item scale that we have been using for two years in the Memory Clinic context. The second measure is a 10-item informant-rated scale specifically designed for use in people with dementia, called the the Informant Questionnaire for Anxiety in Dementia (IQAD). We will undertake a head to head comparison of the GAI and the IQAD in people with dementia against DSM-IV diagnoses of anxiety disorders.

2. Assess the value of these scales to measure change in anxiety level in a randomised controlled trial of a multi-component behaviour therapy intervention in anxious people with dementia.

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