Managing Challenging Behaviours
Effective management of challenging behaviours associated with dementia requires a systematic approach. In much the same way as your physician might treat a medical problem, this systematic approach involves assessing the situation, coming up with a plan to manage the challenge at hand, and then implementing and evaluating the treatment plan (and modifying it as necessary).
In general, the first step in managing challenging behaviours is to try to understand why they are occurring. The best way to do this is to observe challenging behaviours in a very systematic way. Psychologists and other mental health care professionals use a technique called ABC charting to observe challenging behaviours before developing and implementing a plan.
The "A" in ABC refers to antecedents or triggers to challenging behaviours. The idea is that many behaviours are triggered by something. Perhaps it is the disease, perhaps it is some unmet need, or perhaps it is something in the environment. The "B" in ABC refers to the challenging behaviour that is causing stress. Finally, the "C" in ABC refers to the consequences of the behaviour or to the caregiver reaction to the behaviour. The way that we react to challenging behaviours can have a large impact on whether that behaviour is more or less likely to re-occur.
Once information has been collected about potential triggers to the challenging behaviour, as well as caregiver reactions that were effective and ineffective in managing that behaviour, an intervention plan can be developed.
Click the icon below for more about ABC charting and other techniques from Dr. Guy Proulx.