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Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD)

Debby L. Gerritsen, The Netherlands (2016-2018)
Marc Lachmann, Canada (2016-2018)

The world’s population is aging rapidly, and with it is coming a significant increase in the number of older people with dementia. This increase presents major challenges for the provision of healthcare generally and for dementia care in particular, for as more people have dementia, there will be more people exhibiting behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD).

BPSD exact a high price from both the patient and the caregiver in terms of the distress and disability they cause if left untreated. BPSD is recognizable, understandable and treatable. The recognition and appropriate management of BPSD are important factors in improving our care of dementia patients and their caregivers.

The BPSD Shared Interest Forum is one of the best examples of the enormous potential and contribution of IPA Member Forums to IPA and the field of Psychogeriatrics.  The BPSD group began as a result of two IPA expert consensus meetings, one in 1996 and the other in 1999. The review and discussion of the broad array of seemingly unrelated behaviors and symptoms spawned the development of The IPA Complete Guides to BPSD.  The BPSD Shared Interest Forum has also been the impetus for numerous IPA Meeting, Congress and IPA Learning Portal (online education) presentations.

First written in 1998, revised in 2003 and now updated on an ongoing basis, The IPA Complete Guides to BPSD provide a comprehensive overview of the presentation and causes of BPSD, offering constructive guidance on treatment interventions, both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic, along with information on caregiver education and support. They are now available only in electronic format and easily accessible to members in the IPA Members Area on the IPA website.

These resource guides address each perspective of care for the geriatric mental health patient, recognizing that each professional has a unique role and opportunity to provide care and support to the patient and caregiver. They are available as a three-part series:

  •  The IPA Complete Guide to Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia – Specialists
  • The IPA Complete Guide to Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia – Nurses
  • The IPA Complete Guide to Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia – Primary Care Physicians

If you wish to obtain more information about this IPA Special Interest Group, contact the IPA Secretariat at:


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