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Welcome to the Understanding Agitation Kit

DBSA created the Understanding Agitation Kit to introduce emergency departments, hospitals, and other community health organizations to best practices in working with individuals experiencing agitation. These best practices are patient-centered, beneficial for your facility, and developed by a consensus panel of psychiatry and emergency medicine experts along with patient advocates. On this page you will find digital versions of all the resources in your kit and supplemental materials.

All Understanding Agitation Kit Materials

The resources created by DBSA will help you and your staff begin to develop the knowledge and skills to safely, effectively, and collaboratively manage and prevent the escalation of agitation episodes in your patients.

If you would like to order a hard copy of the Understanding Agitation Kit, use our online order form.

Supplemental Digital Resources

In addition to the printed materials you received, DBSA created the following online resources:

  • Understanding Agitation webinar with Scott Zeller, MD, past president of the American Association of Emergency Psychiatry and founder and director of Project BETA, a multicenter effort which published international best-practice guidelines for the evaluation and treatment of agitation in 2012. Dr. Zeller discusses the Project BETA consensus guidelines, the effectiveness of collaborative and compassionate treatments, and the amazing results achieved by facilities adopting the guidelines.
  • Video demonstration of verbal de-escalation (9 minutes) De-escalation is highly effective and has been identified as the preferred intervention in calming a person experiencing agitation. This technique is also key to avoiding seclusion and restraint, which can be traumatizing to both patients and staff. The goal in verbal de-escalation is to help the person regain control so that he or she can better communicate needs with health care providers.  
  • Understanding Agitation page for the general public This page contains basic information about agitation and a video featuring personal stories.

Order Free Educational Materials

We are pleased to offer complementary additional copies of the resources for your staff as well as materials you can provide your patients. Use our online order form to request de-escalation posters, de-escalation reference cards, the Understanding Agitation brochure, and personal crisis planning cards. All resources available while supplies last.

Outside Resources

This kit highlights the consensus guidelines developed by Project BETA (Best practices in the Evaluation and Treatment of Agitation), an initiative of the non-profit organization American Association for Emergency Psychiatry (AAEP).

We strongly encourage you to read the original journal articles for Project BETA. Their recommendations encompass the full spectrum of treatment including triage, diagnosis, interpersonal calming skills, medication choices, and creating the optimum environment in your facility. All six articles are included in the Understanding Agitation kit and are also available for free online at the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine.

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Your evaluation is very helpful for planning and improving our programs and resources. Please complete an evaluation of the Understanding Agitation Kit.

Thank You!

DBSA thanks Teva for their support for production, not content development, of this educational resource. DBSA would also like to thank Scott Zeller, MD for his guidance in the creation of these educational materials.