At the recent Risky Business 2 International Dementia Conference Dr Stephen Judd called on aged care providers to ‘ditch their drug habit’ and take responsibility for the role they play in the over-reliance on chemical restraint in the care of people with dementia.
He said that attempts to pass off the use of antipsychotics in aged care simply a doctor-patient issue were ‘absolute rubbish’ and a cop out from the sector. He goes on to say
“what it fails to acknowledge is that often doctors are prescribing at the behest of aged care staff”.
Strong words and ones which have been responded to by Patrick Reid (CEO of LASA and a Pharmacist). He suggests that if Dr Judd has examples of where doctors are failing in their duties and simply prescribing serious medication because a staff member requests it, a report must be made. There is an obligation to make AHPRA aware of any medical professional who ‘places the public at risk because of a significant departure from accepted professional standards’. Patrick Reid goes on to say that LASA supports the quality use of medicines in conjunction with non-pharmacological approaches and has taken an active role in this regard, having a position on the Steering Group for RedUse (Reducing use of sedatives program) developed by the University of Tasmania. LASA commends the merits of the program to Dr Judd and anyone caring for people with dementia.
For some residents the use of sedative medication will be the appropriate course of action and the benefits will outweigh the risk – the decision will rest with the prescribing doctor.