Care homes still using a 'chemical cosh' on patients.
Byline: CATHERINE LILLINGTON Families Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
TOO many care homes still use a "chemical cosh" to quieten dementia patients despite a Governmentordered review of their use, research suggests.
The study led by Coventry University found no overall reduction in the prescribing of antipsychotics to dementia patients in UK care homes between 2009 and 2012.
In 77 per cent of cases in 2012, treatment was "excessive" and lasted for far longer than the recommended six weeks.
Older antipsychotics such as haloperidol and chlorpromazine are also still being used extensively, the study found - with no significant shift towards newer, safer types such as risperidone.
Antipsychotics were originally developed for patients with schizophrenia or psychosis. However, they are regularly prescribed "off label" for people with dementia, some of whom show challenging behaviour.
This The new research comes despite the Government's 2009 National Dementia Strategy, which called for a review of the use of antipsychotics in light of their side-effects, which include strokes.
antipsychotics behavioural dementia George In 2014, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the attitude towards dementia "must and will change" as he recounted reports of people "drugged up with a chemical cosh just so a care assistant can get a good night's sleep".
In the latest study experts examined prescribing data from more than 600 care homes and found no significant decline in continued on to mange symptomsof is deeply worrying McNamara antipsychotic prescribing rates over the period. Care homes in the top fifth for prescribing were more likely to be in deprived areas, the study found, while there was a six-fold variation in prescribing rates depending on geographical area.
George McNamara, head of policy at Alzheimer's Society, said: "This continued reliance on antipsychotics to manage behavioural symptoms of dementia is deeply worrying.
"Around 90 per cent of people with dementia experience symptoms that affect their behaviour causing aggression, agitation, or even delusions and hallucinations. These symptoms can develop as part of their condition, but may also be caused by other factors - pain, discomfort, or unmet need.
"When this is the case, prescribing antipsychotics treats the person with dementia as the problem rather than the root cause of their behaviour.
"Antipsychotics increase the risk of stroke, falls and even death - it's shocking that the evidence continues to be flatly ignored."
comes Government's Secretary cosh assistant goo"This continued reliance on antipsychotics to mange behavioural symptomsof dementia is deeply worrying George McNamara