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Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Assessing and Managing Agitation in the Nursing Home Setting

July 20, 2023 - Emerging Topic Webinar Recording

If you purchased access to the live broadcast of this course and were unable to attend, please email to gain access to this course for no additional charge.



Emerging Topics Webinar Series

Stay up to date on important topics and trends impacting psychiatry by participating in APA's new Emerging Topics Webinar Series. Presented by specialists across the field, these monthly webinars will explore a range of diverse, pertinent topics and offer a chance to interact with peers and subject matter experts. 


This webinar will review a framework to help staff and providers assess agitated behaviors, interpret a behavior's meaning and develop a person-centered care plan incorporating both behavioral and pharmacological evidence-based interventions. Because neurodegenerative diseases, many brain disorders and stress can decrease the ability of someone to use and understand words it is essential to train caregivers, providers and families/natural supports to focus on the meaning of a behavioral outburst. Behaviors are the primary means by which those with cognitive impairments communicate. Seeing behavior as communication enables caregivers and providers to focus on what actually occurred, what was occurring prior to and after an agitated or aggressive behavior. This webinar will outline specific areas to review and discuss ways to address agitation that lead to improved quality of life for those living in nursing facilities as well as those who work there.


Recorded webinar.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this presentation, the participant will be able to: 

  • Describe a system through which to interpret behavior
  • Describe several tools to track behaviors including how to use them
  • Describe the evidence base behind several classes of medications including cholinesterase inhibitors, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, GABA-ergic agents such as valproate and opiates


  • 1 hours of content
  • 30 minutes of Q and A


  • McNabney MK, Fitzgerald P, Pedulla J, Phifer M, Nash M, Kinosian B. The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly: An Update after 25 Years of Permanent Provider Status. JAMDA, 2022. DOI 10.1016/j.jamda.2022.09.004
  • Nash MC, Patel AR, Rose SS, Swantek SS. LTE: The Imperative for Person-Centered Dementia Care: Focus on Assessing and Working with Long-Term Care Residents Rather Than Percentage of People on a Medication. JAMDA 21 (2020) 562-563.
  • Nash M, Szydlowski J. (May, 2019). Antipsychotic Use among PACE participants with Dementia: Rare, But Variable When Indicated. Poster presented at American Geriatrics Society Annual Meeting Presidential Poster Session. 2019, May 2; Portland, OR.
  • Nash, MC and Foidel, SE. Editors. Neurocognitive Behavioral Disorders: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Patient Centered Care. NY, NY Springer Nature. 2019 [Authored/Coauthored Chapters: Neuropsychiatric Symptoms Are a Core Feature of Neurocognitive Disorders, p1-12. The Team Approach for those with MNCD: Interdisciplinary and Collaborative, p13-38. Frailty, Resilience, and Palliative Care Considerations for those living with dementia, p135-156. Person-Centered Care and Care Planning for those with MNCD. P. 199-232.]
  • Dawson WD, Nash M. Aging with Serious Mental Illness: One State’s Response. Generations 42(3) 63-70. Fall 2018.
  • Nash, M, Swantek S. Neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia: Monotherapy, or combination therapy? Curr Psych. July 2018.

Target Audience

Medical students, Residents/Fellows, Psychiatrists, non-psychiatrist physicians, Social Workers, Nurses

Estimate Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 1.5 hours
Program Start Date: July 21, 2023
Program End Date: July 21, 2026

Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in Q&A.

How to Earn Credit

After evaluating the program, participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians) or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the event date and hours earned.

Continuing Education Credit

In support of improving patient care, the American Psychiatric Association is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.


The APA designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures

The American Psychiatric Association adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CME activity — including faculty, planners, reviewers or others — are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (commercial interests). All relevant conflicts of interest have been mitigated prior to the commencement of the activity.


  • Maureen Nash, MD. Has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.
  • Rajesh Tampi, MD. Moderator for this session. Has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.


  • Vishal Madaan, MD, Chief of Education, APA, has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. Please contact the American Psychiatric Association at 202-559-3900, if you require assistance seven (7) business days prior to the start of a live webinar.

Technical Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using any of the following:

  • The latest and 2nd latest public versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
  • Internet Explorer 11+

This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Browser: Google Chrome (latest and 2nd latest version), Safari (latest and 2nd latest version), Internet Explorer 11.0+, Firefox (latest and 2nd latest version), or Microsoft Edge (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows versions 8.1+, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) +, Android (latest and 2nd latest version), or iOS/iPad OS (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher; 1 GB (for 32-bit)/2 GB (for 64-bit) or higher RAM; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher with latest updates installed; Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor; 512 MB or higher RAM; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

For assistance: Contact for questions about this activity

Availability: On-Demand
Expires on 07/21/2026
Cost: $50.00
Credit Offered:
1.5 CME Credits
1.5 COP Credits
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