Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

David Roseborough, Ph.D., LICSW


Social Work


There are many stereotypes that older adults in nursing homes are “snowed” and not cared for properly by “burnt out” and “careless” nursing staff. The purpose of this project was to explore professionals in skilled nursing facilities attempting to meet the Minnesota Department of Health mandate to decrease the amount of antipsychotic medication usage among older adults with dementia. The research placed a focus on non-pharmacological interventions with an emphasis on music therapy. Using a qualitative design, six subjects were interviewed regarding their experiences, successes, challenges and non-pharmacological efforts that are being implemented in their facility. Data were analyzed using an inductive approach and then through the lens of the mandate and were categorized by theme and subthemes. The data were related back to the literature and the findings indicated that all participating facilities were having success in their attempts to meet this mandate or were beginning to make attempts to meet this mandate. These findings emphasize the importance of taking a non-pharmacological approach with older adults with behaviors related to dementia but further training, research and practice are needed for continued and future success in relation to antipsychotic medication reduction and non-pharmacological approaches for older adults with dementia in these settings.

Included in

Social Work Commons