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The International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA) published a provisional consensus definition of agitation in cognitive disorders in 2015. As proposed by the original work group, we summarize the use and validation of criteria in order to remove “provisional” from the definition.
This report summarizes information from the academic literature, research resources, clinical guidelines, expert surveys, and patient and family advocates on the experience of use of the IPA definition. The information was reviewed by a working group of topic experts to create a finalized definition.
We present a final definition which closely resembles the provisional definition with modifications to address special circumstances. We also summarize the development of tools for diagnosis and assessment of agitation and propose strategies for dissemination and integration into precision diagnosis and agitation interventions.
The IPA definition of agitation captures a common and important entity that is recognized by many stakeholders. Dissemination of the definition will permit broader detection and can advance research and best practices for care of patients with agitation.
To develop an agitation reduction and prevention algorithm is intended to guide implementation of the definition of agitation developed by the International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA)
Review of literature on treatment guidelines and recommended algorithms; algorithm development through reiterative integration of research information and expert opinion
IPA Agitation Workgroup
IPA panel of international experts on agitation
Integration of available information into a comprehensive algorithm
The IPA Agitation Work Group recommends the Investigate, Plan, and Act (IPA) approach to agitation reduction and prevention. A thorough investigation of the behavior is followed by planning and acting with an emphasis on shared decision-making; the success of the plan is evaluated and adjusted as needed. The process is repeated until agitation is reduced to an acceptable level and prevention of recurrence is optimized. Psychosocial interventions are part of every plan and are continued throughout the process. Pharmacologic interventions are organized into panels of choices for nocturnal/circadian agitation; mild-moderate agitation or agitation with prominent mood features; moderate-severe agitation; and severe agitation with threatened harm to the patient or others. Therapeutic alternatives are presented for each panel. The occurrence of agitation in a variety of venues—home, nursing home, emergency department, hospice—and adjustments to the therapeutic approach are presented.
The IPA definition of agitation is operationalized into an agitation management algorithm that emphasizes the integration of psychosocial and pharmacologic interventions, reiterative assessment of response to treatment, adjustment of therapeutic approaches to reflect the clinical situation, and shared decision-making.
This article seeks to shed light on civil commitment in the context of the opioid crisis, to sketch the existing legal landscape surrounding civil commitment, and to illustrate the relevant medical, ethical, and legal concerns that policymakers must take into account as they struggle to find appropriate responses to the crisis.
Agitation is common across neuropsychiatric disorders and contributes to disability, institutionalization, and diminished quality of life for patients and their caregivers. There is no consensus definition of agitation and no widespread agreement on what elements should be included in the syndrome. The International Psychogeriatric Association formed an Agitation Definition Work Group (ADWG) to develop a provisional consensus definition of agitation in patients with cognitive disorders that can be applied in epidemiologic, non-interventional clinical, pharmacologic, non-pharmacologic interventional, and neurobiological studies. A consensus definition will facilitate communication and cross-study comparison and may have regulatory applications in drug development programs.
The ADWG developed a transparent process using a combination of electronic, face-to-face, and survey-based strategies to develop a consensus based on agreement of a majority of participants. Nine-hundred twenty-eight respondents participated in the different phases of the process.
Agitation was defined broadly as: (1) occurring in patients with a cognitive impairment or dementia syndrome; (2) exhibiting behavior consistent with emotional distress; (3) manifesting excessive motor activity, verbal aggression, or physical aggression; and (4) evidencing behaviors that cause excess disability and are not solely attributable to another disorder (psychiatric, medical, or substance-related). A majority of the respondents rated all surveyed elements of the definition as “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” (68–88% across elements). A majority of the respondents agreed that the definition is appropriate for clinical and research applications.
A provisional consensus definition of agitation has been developed. This definition can be used to advance interventional and non-interventional research of agitation in patients with cognitive impairment.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an urgent public health challenge that is rapidly approaching epidemic proportions. New therapies that defer or prevent the onset, delay the decline, or improve the symptoms are urgently needed. All phase 3 drug development programs for disease-modifying agents have failed thus far. New approaches to drug development are needed. Translational neuroscience focuses on the linkages between basic neuroscience and the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic products that will improve the lives of patients or prevent the occurrence of brain disorders. Translational neuroscience includes new preclinical models that may better predict human efficacy and safety, improved clinical trial designs and outcomes that will accelerate drug development, and the use of biomarkers to more rapidly provide information regarding the effects of drugs on the underlying disease biology. Early translational research is complemented by later stage translational approaches regarding how best to use evidence to impact clinical practice and to assess the influence of new treatments on the public health. Funding of translational research is evolving with an increased emphasis on academic and NIH involvement in drug development. Translational neuroscience provides a framework for advancing development of new therapies for AD patients.
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