Date of Graduation

Spring 2-13-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


School of Nursing and Health Professions



First Advisor

Dr. Alexa Curtis

Second Advisor

Dr. Elena Capella

Third Advisor

Dr. Marjorie Barter


Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are common among residents of assisted living facilities. Inadequately managed symptoms of BPSD can lead to problematic behaviors with significant consequences for patients and caregivers. Non-pharmacologic approaches to the management of problematic behaviors in individuals with dementia are the preferred management option. Caregiver training and education to enhance knowledge and skills in managing behavioral and psychological symptoms for assisted living caregivers is indicated to provide optimum care for patients with dementia. The purpose of this doctor of nursing practice (DNP) project was to develop and implement a caregiver-training workshop utilizing a competency-based behavioral training curriculum to improve the care of dementia residents and ultimately enhance the physical and mental well-being of both the residents and caregivers. Fifteen assisted living caregivers attended a two-hour training workshop, individualized onsite monitoring, and follow-up. Overall implementation of this quality improvement project resulted in a high level of satisfaction among participating staff. Upon completion of the training workshop, a considerable increase was evident in self-perceived knowledge of dementia and related behaviors (87%), behavior management skills (94%), inter-professional communication skills (73%), and comfort level in managing behavior problems (74%), relative to self-reported pre-training levels. In contrast, an overall reduction appeared in perceived competencies regarding the same four components six weeks after training. These results suggest that this may be an effective model for a training intervention for assisted living caregivers of dementia residents with behavioral symptoms. Additional follow-up concept review and staff support may be required to sustain the changed practice behavior and maintain the benefits of the training.