Stoudemire Award Winner: Demystifying De-escalation: An Online Curriculum for Working With Agitated Patients
All clinicians encounter agitated patients. Yet most health professionals do not receive formal training in verbal de-escalation, the first line of treatment for symptoms of agitation. A five part, 39-minute video curriculum was developed to demonstrate best practices in verbal de-escalation. The curriculum is freely available online (https://youtu.be/musgq94q8GQ). We conducted an pre-post assessment of the curriculum's effectiveness among 151 medical students who were required to watch the videos as part of their psychiatric clerkship. After teaching, a greater proportion of students felt more comfortable at the prospect of verbally de-escalating an agitated patient (81% post v 17% pre, p<.01), more confident in their de-escalation skills (87% v 17%, p<.01), and safer at the possibility of encountering an agitated patient (77% v 28%, <.01). Since its release in 2017, the curriculum has accumulated more than 160,000 online views and has been adopted by healthcare institutions and schools in multiple countries for training students, nurses, physicians, and other healthcare staff. These materials can improve the care of agitated patients, improve the resilience of clinicians, and foster safer therapeutic interactions with agitated patients.