Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Janet Peyser

Second Advisor

Mary Val Palumbo


Background: Dementia is a degenerative neurological disorder that afflicts a growing proportion of the global population. Complementary alternative medicine (CAM) modalities are under investigation for their therapeutic value in the management of dementia.

Purpose: Nursing care of dementia sufferers can include managing agitation and negative behaviors; this study investigates staff appraisal of the Multi-Sensory Stimulation Environment (MSSE) as an intervention for these nursing challenges.

Methods: A purposive sample of nursing staff employed in residential care for dementia patients were recruited 10 weeks after the initiation of an open-access MSSE at the facility to complete a confidential self-administered questionnaire.

Results: 79% of potential participants returned completed surveys for a total sample of n = 23. 70% of survey respondents felt that residents were utilizing the MSSE "Somewhat Frequently" or "Very Frequently." 77% of the staff felt the MSSE should continue in use at the facility or continue with some alterations. The sample suggested that the MSSE is helpful for mood, specifically anger, sadness, anxiety, and restlessness, but not for boredom. Higher-scoring items in favor of the MSSE intervention included confusion, perseverating, wandering, and interpersonal conflict.

Conclusion: Several components of agitation and negative behavior in the dementia population appear to be improved with the use of an MSSE according to this sample. Further research is needed to support the results of this sample and to explore more detailed recommendations regarding the use of MSSE in dementia care.



Number of Pages

99 p.