Bid to cut dementia drug use in care homes
Published on 18 June 2012 02:30 PM
The use of antipsychotic drugs could be reduced by as much as 50% if care home staff were trained to help dementia sufferers properly, new research has found.
According to the Alzheimer's Society, around 144,000 dementia sufferers are prescribed the drugs 'inappropriately'.
The drugs can lead to an increase in risk of death or stroke, or leave patients unable to walk or talk.
The charity said more than 150 staff at care homes across the UK will be trained in a bid cut reliance on the drugs. The staff will learn simple exercises such as care home residents' life stories to better connect with them.
A trial of the programme, which included 349 people in 12 care homes, showed a considerable drop in the use of the drugs.
After 12 months the number of dementia sufferers on the drugs in care homes taking part in the trial was just 23%, compared with 42% in those not involved.
Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer's Society, said: 'Finding a way to end the unacceptable levels of inappropriate antipsychotic prescriptions to people with dementia is an urgent priority we all have to address.
'If we don't, many thousand more people will have their health and quality of life put at risk.
'FITS (the new training programme) has the potential to have a huge impact.'
Copyright Press Association 2012