Behaviours are a form of communication. Behaviour charts can help us to assess the situation surrounding the distressed behaviour. They give us time to reflect and consider what was happening before, during, and after an episode of stress or distress. The examination of completed behaviour charts can provide some answers, or at least some more information about the causes of the behaviour or in other words, the unmet need, that is being communicated. The behaviour chart can give us some ideas on the emotion that the individual with dementia may be experiencing at the time (fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, frustration, boredom etc), what might they be thinking, and what they are trying to communicate to others.
From a behaviour chart we can get the following:
The behaviour and to consider all possible clues in the environment that may be triggering or maintaining someone's distress e.g., a visitor/ noise etc.
Monitor the patterns of the behaviour such as how often the person is experiencing distress, generally around what time of day the behaviour is expressed and monitor any improvements over time.
Can help to identify early signs of agitation and so can help work out ways to support the person before getting to a full-blown distress.
Behaviour charts are very good evidence to share with professionals such as GP, Mental health teams, Admiral Nurse, or Continuing health care if ever needed.
Use the chart as a monitoring tool e.g., when someone starts new medication or a new intervention. A behaviour chart can help give some insight into whether medication / intervention is effective and there is some improvement or that there is no change, or the behaviours have gotten worse since new medication/ intervention or whether there are new side effects. It can also be useful when medication or an intervention is stopped.
Behaviour charts should only include your observations - NOT opinion or impressions. They are a factual and objective tool. Think of it like presenting evidence in a court of law - report what you saw and heard only. Do not begin to try to guess 'why’ the person acted in a certain way. Write exactly what they did e.g., kicked the pillow, punched etc and avoid using aggression or violent.
You can click on the 'Website' link above to find a downloadable PDF of a blank behaviour chart for you to use.