Bathing: A framework for intervention focusing on psychosocial, architectural and human factors considerations

Jiska Cohen-Mansfield, Aleksandra Parpura-Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The process of bathing is usually pleasurable and relaxing for most persons and, although it serves hygienic needs, it is often individualized to a person's preferences in order to enhance the pleasurable experience. In contrast, the bathing process for elderly people suffering from dementia is often a traumatic experience for both the persons with dementia and their caregivers. Agitated behaviors are manifested more often during bathing than at other times. Factors influencing the experience of the bathing process and resulting in agitated behaviors can be categorized into four broad groups: the needs of the person with dementia, the needs of the caregiver, the physical environment in which bathing takes place and institutional factors. A number of approaches have been employed to treat agitated behaviors during bathing; however, a comprehensive approach addressing all of the above factors has not been developed. This paper presents preliminary findings on the effectiveness of the Treatment Routes for Exploring Agitation (TREA) approach for non-pharmacological interventions within a larger framework of human factors, addressing the needs of residents and staff members, environmental factors as well as human factors analysis to improve the process of bathing. A case study demonstrates the efficacy of this approach in reducing agitated behaviors during bathing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-135
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Agitation of elderly
  • Bathing of elderly people
  • Dementia
  • Non-pharmacological intervention


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