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Stop drugging the elderly

Stop drugging the elderly

by STEVE CANNANE

A new study produced by Alzheimer’s Australia suggests up to 80 per cent of dementia patients in aged-care facilities are being restrained with psychotropic drugs.

The report suggests only one in five dementia patients receive any benefit from taking such medication.

According to ABC, “Alzheimer’s Australia say the use of drugs in nursing homes is excessive and has called for reform of the sector.”

Glenn Rees, the CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia, says about 140,000 nursing home residents are being sedated and restrained with the drugs.

“For people with dementia in residential care – and remember that people with dementia account for 50 per cent of residents – about 80 per cent will be on restraint at some time or other,” he said.

Physical and medical restraint has long been used in nusing care homes, but newer thinking is moving away from it as unethical; and turning toward patient-centered care which reduces agitation, and hence, the need for medicating.

Psychotropic drugs refers to psychiatric medicines that change chemical levels in the brain to improve mood and behavior.

To reduce the need for restraints, long-term care homes are reducing noise, adding in more and better activities and physical recreation.

Another method, says Rees, is “to adopt person-centered care approaches so that the care staff can relate better to the individual and know their personal histories,” ABC reported.

“Certainly many of the refurbishments we are seeing in aged care, about 60 per cent of new buildings are around improving that environment. So I think it is a positive.”



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