WorkSafeBC Home

Working with people with dementia

Dementia results from damage to the brain, which can decrease a person's physical and cognitive abilities. People with dementia may not be able to verbally communicate needs, so they may express those needs through behaviours. Some of these behaviours may put caregivers at risk of injury.

The risks

Causes of responsive behaviour can include:

  • Feelings of frustration
  • Becoming overwhelmed by an overly stimulating environment
  • Having basic needs unmet (e.g., thirst, hunger, pain, incontinence)
  • Changes in environment or care staff
  • Poor sleep cycle

Reducing the risks

Ways to prevent aggressive response behaviour can include:

  • Care planning that takes into account a person's history and preferences
  • Care that is flexible to meet the needs of the person in that moment
  • Being focused on the needs of the person, not the care being provided
  • Reporting care approaches that work, as well as ones that didn't