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Dementia With Lewy Bodies: A Comprehensive Review for Nurses

Ajon Gealogo, Gretchel

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: December 2013 - Volume 45 - Issue 6 - p 347–359
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0b013e3182a3ce2b

ABSTRACT Much of the current nursing literature on dementia focuses on Alzheimer disease (AD), the dementia subtype most commonly diagnosed in the older adults. There is a paucity of nursing literature on dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), the second most common subtype of dementia, which is closely associated with Parkinson disease with dementia (PDD), considered the third most common dementia subtype. Both are aging-related disorders attributed to Lewy bodies, abnormal protein aggregates or “clumps” found to cause cumulative neurodegeneration over time. DLB is defined as dementia onset that is preceded by Parkinsonian symptoms for 1 year or less, whereas in PDD, 2 or more years of Parkinsonian symptoms precede dementia onset. Although basic science knowledge of DLB has increased exponentially, the lack of nursing research on DLB indicates that this knowledge excludes the nursing perspective and its implications for nursing practice. The purpose of this article is to provide nurses with a comprehensive overview of DLB as it compares with PDD and Alzheimer disease and to propose key nursing interventions for clinical practice.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Gretchel Ajon Gealogo, MSN RN-BC CMSRN MHR, at She is a PhD Candidate at the School of Nursing, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses