‘Culture Change’ Needed in Anti-Psychotic Drug Prescriptions
Significant “changes in culture” to how prescriptions are managed and monitored have been called for by the authors of a research study on how antipsychotic drugs are given to dementia patients.
The research found that there has been no noticeable reduction in antipsychotic prescriptions since the National Dementia Strategy was implemented. The Department of Health commissioned a report that year that recommended a review of the drugs should be taken, as they pose serious side effects to users and can be fatal.
The report notes inappropriate antipsychotic prescriptions as poor care, and highlights that there are more well-developed protections against physical restraint and deprivation of liberty than the chemical restraints that are currently being implemented.
It has been noticed that the older, less safe drugs are being used extensively rather than the recommended, second generation medications.
Professor Ala Szczepura from Coventry University’s Centre for Technology Enabled Health Research, said in an interview with Community Care how important it was that care workers and clinical staff were supported with training on the drugs, as some patients are being treated with antipsychotic prescriptions when they could be treated with analgesic instead.
Szczepura added that prescriptions across care homes are inconsistent as patients are prone to sticking with their individual GP rather than one surgery/GP being responsible for the prescribing policy across each care home.
The department of health have stated that as part of the Challenge on Dementia 2020 scheme they are committed to reducing the use of antipsychotic drugs and they realise that they should not be used as a first resort.