The current study aimed to profile behaviors associated with dementia that pose management difficulties for staff and determine whether existing rating scales capture these reported behaviors. Staff in 17 nursing homes described the behavioral symptoms of 229 residents with predominantly moderate-severe dementia associated with management difficulties. Behaviors were categorized by an expert clinical panel and compared to items in four dementia behavior rating scales. Staff reported 59 discrete behavioral symptoms, with physically agitated, aggressive verbal, non-aggressive verbal, and aggressive physical behaviors most common, followed by resistance to care and inappropriate social and sexual behaviors. Results suggested that some scales omit important behaviors reported by staff for residents with particularly challenging behaviors. The current study highlights the clinical complexity faced by nursing home staff in managing residents with behavioral symptoms of dementia.