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Verbal De-escalation of the Agitated Patient

1. The act of verbally de-escalating a patient is a form of treatment in which the patient is enabled to rapidly develop their own internal locus of control.

A. True

B. False


2. All of the following are main objectives when working with an agitated patient, except for:

A. Ensure the safety of the patient, staff, and others in the area.

B. Help the patient manage their emotions and distress and maintain or regain control of their behavior.

C. Use restraint until the patient has regained control of their behavior.

D. Avoid coercive interventions that escalate agitation.


3. Irritability and heightened responsiveness to stimuli may be present, and the association of agitation and aggression has been clearly established.

A. True

B. False


4. The most essential skill at verbal de-escalation is:

A. A good attitude, starting with positive regard for the patient and the capacity for empathy.

B. The ability to recognize that the patient is doing the best they can under the circumstances.

C. Being able to recognize that the inability to conform is due to either cognitive impairment or the patient’s lack of the skills needed to effectively get their needs met.

D. All of the above.


5. De-escalation frequently takes the form of a verbal loop in which the clinician listens to the patient, finds a way to respond that agrees with or validates the patient’s position, and then states what they want the patient to do.

A. True

B. False


6. When approaching the agitated patient, the clinician should maintain at least _____ arm’s length of distance between themselves and the patient.

A. 1

B. 2

C. 3

D. 4


7. The clinician should do all of the following with an agitated patient, except for:

A. Avoid concealing hands, which imply a concealed weapon.

B. Bend knees slightly.

C. Directly face the patient.

D. Avoid challenging, insulting, or anything else that can be perceived as humiliating.


8. Since agitated patients may be impaired in their ability to process verbal information, sentences should be kept short and vocabulary kept simple.

A. True

B. False


9. Which of the following is a way to agree with a patient?

A. Agreeing with the truth.

B. Agreeing in principle.

C. Agreeing with the odds.

D. All of the above.


10. If necessary, the patient should be threatened that they may be arrested and prosecuted if they assault anyone.

A. True

B. False


11. Violation of a limit must result in a consequence, which is:

A. Clearly related to the specific behavior.

B. Reasonable.

C. Presented in a respectful manner.

D. All of the above.


12. Fear driven aggression is self defense.

A. True

B. False


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