Journal of Affective Disorders
The course of anxiety in persons with dementia in Norwegian nursing homes: A 12-month follow-up study
Background: Knowledge is scarce about the course of anxiety in persons with dementia (PWD) in nursing homes. This study aimed to describe the course of anxiety, anxiety symptoms, and the correlates of change in the Norwegian version of the Rating Anxiety in Dementia scale (RAID-N) score in PWD in nursing homes.
Methods: Using the RAID-N, anxiety was assessed in 298 PWD aged 65 years and above from 17 Norwegian nursing homes. The assessments were made at baseline and after a mean follow-up period of 350 days (SD 12.3). Associations between the change in RAID-N score and demographic and clinical characteristics were analyzed with multilevel regression models.
Results: At 12 months, 93 participants (31.2%) had died. There was no significant change in the proportion of participants with anxiety, defined as RAID-N score ≥12, from baseline (33.7%) to follow-up (31.2%) (McNemar, p = 0.597). "Motor tension", "frightened and anxious", and "irritability" were the most frequent anxiety symptoms among those with dementia and anxiety. A higher Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Questionnaire (NPI-Q) sub-syndrome affective baseline score and more use of anxiolytics were associated with reduction in RAID-N score, whereas a higher NPI-Q sub-syndrome aroused baseline score and more use of antipsychotics were associated with an increase in RAID-N score at follow-up.
Limitations: The study did not control for ongoing treatment or changes of comorbidities.
Conclusions: Anxiety and anxiety symptoms are highly prevalent among PWD in nursing homes over a 12-month period. The symptoms "motor tension", "frightened and anxious", and "irritability" require attention in screening for anxiety.