Alzheimer's disease is a devastating illness that is common among the nursing home population. Treatment for Alzheimer's disease is usually palliative and consists of using psychotropic medications to control aggressive and agitated behaviors exhibited by its victims. The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify behaviors exhibited by Alzheimer's disease patients before and after receiving psychotropic medications. Johnson's Behavioral System Model was used as the theoretical framework for this study. The sample (N = 33) consisted of nursing home residents with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease who were treated with one psychotropic medication. The researcher used chart review to examine the behaviors exhibited by the patients and the psychotropic medication received. Data were gathered using the Behavioral Assessment for Institutionalized Alzheimer's Patients. Data analysis consisted of descriptive statistics and t, tests to measure significant changes in behaviors. Six categories of measurement included memory/recall ability, cognitive skills for daily decision making, indicators of delirium- periodic disordered thinking/awareness, indicators of depression, anxiety, sad mood, and behavioral symptoms. iii Findings revealed significant changes in all areas measured. Conclusions derived from the study were that psychotropic medications significantly impact behaviors of the Alzheimer's disease patient. Recommendations include replication of the study with a larger sample, refinement of the tool utilized to measure behaviors, education of personnel regarding behaviors exhibited by the Alzheimer's disease patient, and comparison of the effects of different psychotropic medications on the behaviors of the Alzheimer's disease patient.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Melinda Rush

Second Advisor

Lorraine Hamm

Third Advisor

Dr. Lynn Chilton

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons