Review of psychotropic medication in Tasmanian residential aged care facilities

Juanita Westbury, Karin Beld, Shane Jackson, Gregory Peterson
Australasian Journal on Ageing 2010, 29 (2): 72-6

AIM: To examine psychotropic medication review practices in residential aged care facilities.

METHODS: Psychotropic medicine use data were collected from residents from 40 residential aged care facilities throughout Tasmania. As an indication of review practices, the measure was repeated at 33 of the original facilities a year later.

RESULTS: A total of 2389 residents' medication records were examined in 2006. Regular doses of antipsychotics and benzodiazepines were taken by 42% and 21% of residents, respectively. Medication data were available for 1307 of the residents in 2007. Over 60% were taking the same antipsychotic or benzodiazepine agent, at the same dose in 2007, as they were in 2006. Dosage reduction or cessation occurred in less than a quarter of the residents.

CONCLUSION: The utilisation of psychotropic medication is high in Tasmanian residential aged care facilities. Attempts to reduce psychotropic doses happen infrequently. Further research is required to establish the barriers to appropriate psychotropic medication review in this setting.

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