Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast

Influence of aquariums on resident behavior and staff satisfaction in dementia units

The influence of an aquarium on resident behavior and staff job satisfaction in three dementia units was examined. The sample consisted of 71 individuals with dementia and 71 professional staff.

A pretest-posttest design was utilized

Baseline resident behavior and staff satisfaction were obtained, and an aquarium was introduced into the setting. Post-behavioral assessment and job satisfaction surveys were completed. Residents’ behaviors improved along four domains: uncooperative, irrational, sleep, and inappropriate behaviors.

The overall residents’ behavior score was significantly improved after an aquarium was introduced, F = 15.60, p < .001. Their mean disruptive behavior score decreased from 67.2 to 58.2.

The staff’s satisfaction score significantly improved, F = 35.34, p < .001. Pretest to posttest mean scores improved from 149.4 to 157.9.

Aquariums are an innovative way for animal-assisted therapy and nature to be introduced to specialized dementia units in long-term care.