Behavioral problems in older adults in acute care settings: Challenges for staff

Erin L. Cassidy, Helen Davies, Ruth O. Hara, Martin S. Mumenthaler, Martha Buffum, Patricia Tsui, Roxanne Shakoori, Claire Danielsen, Javaid Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


The combination of mental and physical changes with age will impact agencies focusing on both acute and chronic problems. One of the biggest challenges for staff new to such patients is contending with agitated and aggressive behaviors. Conducting a needs assessment with staff is one method of mapping the nature and extent of problem behaviors for a specific setting. In the current study, a total of 71 staff members from dif ferent disciplines, across three acute care units and two VA health care facilities, completed a survey assessing the type and frequency of reported behavior problems, the extent to which staff members could identify and document relevant patient risk factors and to identify gaps in their training. Staff reported a large range of problem behaviors. They felt highly confident in their ability to respond effectively to the most frequently observed behaviors, such as patients appearing anxious or having difficulty concentrating and trouble sleeping. However, they felt less prepared for less frequent behaviors, such as physical aggression. This information will be used to design follow-up training for the staff in targeted areas, including the management of various behaviors and the recognition of risk factors for problematic behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes



  • Acute care
  • Behavior
  • Needs assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)

Cite this

Cassidy, E. L., Davies, H., Hara, R. O., Mumenthaler, M. S., Buffum, M., Tsui, P., Shakoori, R., Danielsen, C., & Sheikh, J. (2002). Behavioral problems in older adults in acute care settings: Challenges for staff. Clinical Gerontologist, 24(3-4), 3-13.