To access government-subsidised aged care services, a person will undertake an initial screening to establish their needs and the types of services that could help them. Only the most comprehensive type of assessment captures behaviour and psychological symptoms. For more information on aged care assessments, please visit Aged care assessments.
Box 15.3: Behaviours recorded in aged care assessments that align the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI)
As discussed in the previous section, the NPI is the gold-standard assessment for identifying BPSD. However, the NPI is not undertaken for people accessing government funded aged care services. Instead, select behaviours are recorded in comprehensive aged care assessments that align with descriptions of some BPSD domains in the NPI. While the information presented below provide useful insight on the symptoms experienced by people accessing aged care services, ‘symptoms’ recorded in a comprehensive aged care assessment do not reflect the preferred clinical terms. For example, the description of NPI domain disinhibition overlaps with the recorded symptom, risky behaviours, in a comprehensive aged care assessment. While we present information on people experiencing risky behaviours below as recorded in the comprehensive aged care assessment data, disinhibition remains the preferred clinical term. Further, while wandering is not listed in the NPI, it is frequently cited as an example of BPSD in literature (RACGP 2019; Burley et al. 2021) and is listed as an example behaviour under the Sleep and Nighttime Behaviours NPI domain. As such, wandering information collected in the comprehensive assessments have been included in this section.
In 2020–21, 182,300 Australians completed a comprehensive aged care assessment. Across these assessments, 16% (29,500) of people reported dementia as a health condition. Among all people who completed a comprehensive aged care assessment, 51% reported experiencing one or more behaviours or psychological symptoms ‘regularly’ or ‘always.’