Introduction of a pharmacy and psychosocial intervention in care homes to limit the use of psychotropic medication to treat Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) – a feasibility study

West Midlands
Start Date: 15 Sep 2015

Project Summary

Older people take many different medicines. ‘Anti-psychotics’ (powerful tranquilisers) can help to manage behaviors – such as aggression - that occur in people with dementia and which may be difficult for carers to manage. However, because benefits are limited and anti-psychotics can cause significant harm, the Department of Health (DH) would like to reduce their levels of use by two-thirds. Recent data suggests that some progress has been made in reducing their usage. However, our research has shown that they are often replaced by equally harmful, mood-altering medicines (psychotropics), such as benzodiazepines (e.g. ‘Lorazepam’).

The feasibility study will assess the effectiveness of a medication review for patients diagnosed with dementia in residential care homes to assess whether prescribing of anti-psychotic medication can be reduced.

The intervention will involve:

  • A medication review to support appropriate prescribing by an experienced specialist pharmacist.
  • A behaviour change element based on education and training of care staff to support them in managing challenging behaviour without medication.

Six care homes in the West Midlands will be involved in the study.

Dr Sarah Damery