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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Use of Tablet Devices in the Management of Agitation Among Inpatients with Dementia: An Open-Label Study.

  • Author(s): Vahia, Ipsit V
  • Kamat, Rujvi
  • Vang, Cheng
  • Posada, Carolina
  • Ross, Lisa
  • Oreck, Sarah
  • Bhatt, Alok
  • Depp, Colin
  • Jeste, Dilip V
  • Sewell, Daniel D
  • et al.

To investigate the feasibility, safety, and utility of tablet devices as novel nonpharmacologic tools in managing older psychiatric inpatients with agitation and dementia.Thirty-six patients at a geriatric psychiatry inpatient unit were provided with tablets when agitated and used various apps on the tablet related to communication, games, music, web browser, and photography during their stay. Study staff documented the frequency, duration, and app usage history and rated the extent to which agitation improved after tablet use.All participants, regardless of dementia severity, were able to use apps and were rated by staff to have clinical benefit. Dementia severity was negatively associated with app complexity. Age was negatively associated with frequency and duration of tablet use.Tablet use as a nonpharmacologic intervention for agitation in older adults, including those with severe dementia, appears to be feasible, safe, and of potential utility.

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