AGS Applauds New Measures to Reduce Inappropriate Use of Antipsychotics : Page 2 of 2

June 15, 2012

In the last of the four lectures, “Communication Techniques for Dementia Care Training in Home and Institutional Long-Term Care Settings,” Lené Levy-Storms, PhD, MPH, Luskin School of Public Affairs, Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Borun Center for Gerontological Research, offered insights into and advice for improving communication between long-term care staff and vulnerable residents. Levy-Storms and Susan Kohler, MS, CCC-SLP, have developed an interactive communication training program, “Get Connected,” to improve the quality of communication between nursing aides and vulnerable residents. The interactive program is based on the techniques outlined in Kohler’s book, How to Communicate with Alzheimer’s, and in an accompanying DVD. Kohler uses the combination face-to-face and DVD program to teach staff communication strategies for attaining “emotional connections” when speaking with residents. These “emotional connection” strategies aim to get residents’ attention, encourage listening, promote speaking calmly even in difficult circumstances, use “yes” or “no” questions to facilitate responses, help orient and reorient the resident to the conversation, use touch, and avoid arguments, Levy-Storms explained.

The slides for each of these four lectures have been posted on the AGS Website at If you weren’t able to attend this important session, or attended but would like a refresher, we encourage you to take a look. The May meeting also included a session offering an overview of the 2012 AGS Updated Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults, which was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in March and is an invaluable source of information about safe prescribing for older people. The criteria and a wealth of information for clinicians and patients alike are also available on the AGS Website at If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll take a look at these as well. 



1. US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS announces partnership to improve dementia care in nursing homes [news release]. May 30, 2011. Accessed June 7, 2012.

2. Differential risk of death in older residents in nursing homes prescribed specific antipsychotic drugs: population based cohort study. BMJ. 2012;344:e977.

3. Liperoti R, Pedone C, Corsonello A. Antipsychotics for the treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). Curr Neuropharmacol. 2008;6(2):117-124.