Nursing Review Issue 3 May-June 2022 - Page 23

clinical practice
clinical practice

‘ Deeply troubling ’

Report suggests antipsychotic use still rife in residential care .
By Eleanor Campbell

Over half of elderly residents on antipsychotics have no diagnosis for psychosis , a national report has shown , reigniting calls to embed trained pharmacists into aged care .

In March the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare ( AIHW ) released its first quarterly quality indicator report for residential care to include polypharmacy rates and antipsychotic usage .
It showed between July and September 2021 , 41 per cent of older residents were taking nine or more medications .
Of the 20 per cent of residents prescribed antipsychotics , only 11.6 per cent had been diagnosed with psychosis .
Recommendations from the royal commission called for antipsychotic medicines to be a “ last resort ” in residential care due to their minimal benefit and increased harms of falls and stroke .
National President of the Australian Pharmaceutical Society , associate professor Chris Freeman , said the findings were “ deeply troubling ”.
“ It feels like groundhog day when it comes to medicine-related problems in aged care ,” he said .
“ The evidence is clear , the more medicines someone is prescribed , the more likely it is to cause harm .
“ Embedding pharmacists in aged care is the obvious solution to address the longstanding issue of polypharmacy and chemical restraint in aged care facilities .”
The quality indicator report included data from nearly 90 per cent of eligible residential care services across Australia .
It found during July and September 2021 , 23 per cent , or 38,914 elderly people in care , had been physically restrained .
A total of 57,599 falls were recorded , with 3,840 leading to major injury .
The report also found that 12,500 elderly residents had significant unexplained weight loss . ■

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