Dementia patients restrained

A new study published by Alzheimer’s Australia shows that 80 per cent of dementia patients living in aged care are restrained with psychotropic drugs.

The report suggests that the use of drugs in nursing homes is excessive, as only one in five of the dementia patients being given psychotropic drugs, such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, receive any benefit from it.

Glenn Rees, CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia, has told the ABC, “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 another.”

It is not, however, up to aged care facilities to  prescribe medication. Aged care facilities rely on doctors to diagnose conditions and prescribe drugs, the facility simply administers the prescribed dose.

Mr Rees has suggested that there are alternatives to medication, many of which would reduce any need for these drugs in the first place. Aged care facilities could “adapt the physical environment so that it’s less confusing and less noisy,” or “give a person activities and a sense of purpose in life, whether it’s rehabilitation, social activities [or] physical recreation.”

You can find out more by reading the Alzheimer’s Australia report.

What do you think? Is this high rate of drug prescription to be expected in an aged care facility? Or could it possibly indicate a laziness, or unwillingness to connect with patients, on the part of the facilities and their employees? Have your say in the comments below.

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