Neuropsychiatric symptoms in people living with dementia receiving home health services

Rebecca K.F. Lassell, Shih Yin Lin, Kimberly Convery, Jason Fletcher, Tracy Chippendale, Tessa Jones, Aditi Durga, James E. Galvin, Randall W. Rupper, Abraham A. Brody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We sought to describe neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) among people living with dementia (PLWD) from diverse racial and ethnic groups receiving home health services while accounting for dementia severity, individual symptom prevalence, and neighborhood disadvantage. Methods: A prospective study using cross-sectional data from n = 192 PLWD receiving skilled home healthcare in New Jersey enrolled in the Dementia Symptom Management at Home Program trial. We prospectively measured symptom prevalence with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire and dementia severity using the Quick Dementia Rating System. A one-way ANOVA determined NPS prevalence by dementia severity (mild, moderate, severe). Fisher's exact tests were used to assess the association of individual symptom prevalence with race and ethnicity and cross tabs to descriptively stratify individual symptom prevalence by dementia severity among groups. A Pearson correlation was performed to determine if a correlation existed among neighborhood disadvantages measured by the Area Deprivation Index (ADI) state decile scores and NPS prevalence and severity. Results: Participants identified as non-Hispanic White (50%), non-Hispanic Black (30%), or Hispanic (13%). NPS were prevalent in 97% of participants who experienced 5.4 ± 2.6 symptoms with increased severity (10.8 ± 6.6) and care partner distress (13.8 ± 10.8). NPS increased with dementia severity (p = 0.004) with the greatest difference seen between individuals with mild dementia (4.3 ± 2.3) versus severe dementia (5.9 ± 2.3; p = 0.002). Few differences were found in symptom prevalence by racial and ethnic sub-groups. Nighttime behaviors were higher in non-Hispanic Black (78%), compared with non-Hispanic Whites (46%) with moderate dementia, p = 0.042. State ADI scores were not correlated with the number of NPS reported, or severity. Conclusions: NPS were prevalent and increased with dementia severity with commonalities among racial and ethnic groups with varying levels of neighborhood disadvantage. There is a need for effective methods for improving NPS identification, assessment, and management broadly for homebound PLWD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3865-3873
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • behavioral and psychological symptoms
  • community-dwelling
  • dementia care
  • health disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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