Psychotropic Medication Use in Canadian Long-Term Care Patients Referred for Psychogeriatric Consultation
Keywords:antipsychotic agents, behavioral disturbances, aggression, dementia, depression
Background and Puspose
Prior studies have shown a high prevalence of psychotropic medication use among patients residing in long-term care homes (LTCHs). The purpose of this study was to examine psychotropic medication use by LTCH patients in a metropolitan Canadian city referred to outreach teams for psychiatric assessment.
A retrospective review of charts from specialized psychogeriatric outreach teams serving a large metropolitan city in Canada was undertaken. Data from 68 charts were reviewed. Data were analyzed using descriptive and correlational statistics.
Antipsychotic medications were the most frequent drugs prescribed to patients referred for psychogeriatric assessment (55.9%), followed by antidepressants (50.0%), cognitive enhancers (44.1%) and benzodiazepines (29.4%). More than a quarter of patients (26.5%) were on three psychotropic medications. Medications were adjusted in 35.3% of cases mostly resulting in dose increases. Only 5.9% of patients had their medication dose reduced.
This preliminary exploratory study suggests that patients referred to specialized outreach teams may be a difficult-to-treat population. Further studies are required to establish effective prescribing practices and service delivery models.
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