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Antipsychotic and benzodiazepine use in Tasmanian residential care facilities


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Westbury, JL ORCID: 0000-0002-9932-9513 2007 , 'Antipsychotic and benzodiazepine use in Tasmanian residential care facilities', paper presented at the 6th National Conference of Emerging Researchers in Ageing, 20th November, Adelaide, SA.

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Research question: Concerns have been raised regarding excessive and prolonged use of antipsychotic and hypnotic/anxiolytic medications (principally benzodiazepines) in residential care. ‘Good practice’ guidance recommends regular trials of dosage reduction of these medications. This study aims to examine the pattern of use of antipsychotics and hypnotic/anxiolytics in a large sample of Tasmanian residential care facilities and compare outcomes to previous findings. A secondary aim of this study is to establish if the doses of these medications are regularly reduced.
Methods: Antipsychotic and hypnotic/anxiolytic prescribing data was obtained from case note summaries collected in 36 Tasmanian residential care facilities throughout 2006. To determine whether the doses of these medications were regularly reduced, dosing information was compared to that of residents from 2005.
Results: A total of 2313 residents were included in the study. Over the past decade, there has been a small reduction in the number of residents in Tasmanian care facilities taking antipsychotic and hypnotic/anxiolytic medications. Of particular interest; however, is the high prevalence (47%) of hypnotic/anxiolytic prescribing in Tasmania, with almost half of care facility residents taking benzodiazepines. The doses of the majority of these medications were not reduced regularly.
Implication for policy and practice: Further studies are required to establish why the prescribing rate of benzodiazepines is so high in Tasmania. Furthermore, interventions such as training of care staff and dedicated benzodiazepine rationalisation programs need to be developed and funded as a matter of priority.
Summary: Although the prevalence of antipsychotic and hypnotic/anxiolytic use has decreased over the past 10 years in Tasmanian residential care facilities, the current level of benzodiazepine prescribing is of major concern.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors/Creators:Westbury, JL
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