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Friday, June 21, 2024

OPAN backs new standards for psychtropic medications

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) says it strongly supports a new clinical care standard that aims to reduce the inappropriate use of psychotropic medications for people with cognitive disability or impairment.

“The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s Psychotropic Medicines in Cognitive Disability or Impairment Clinical Care Standard provides clear guidelines for a whole of system approach,” said OPAN CEO, Craig Gear.

“There have been concerns about the high use of antidepressants and antipsychotics in aged care homes when there are more appropriate strategies to support a person with dementia, which are often more effective.

“Most prescribing happens outside the aged care system – through GPs, hospitals and emergency departments. It’s crucial that medications are regularly reviewed and that clinicians discuss the risks and benefits involved – together with non-pharmacological alternatives – with older people, their families and carers.”

Mr Gear said older people need the right drugs, at the right time, for the right reasons.

“While psychotropic medications play an important role in treating mental health conditions, inappropriate use of these drugs qualifies as a restrictive practice, which is an option of last resort.”

“Medication is everyone’s business and older people and families consenting to these powerful medications need to be fully informed of their risks and benefits.

“Older people’s right to have control over their care and to be informed about their care in a way they understand is embedded in the Charter of Aged Care Rights. The new clinical standards, and OPAN’s Medication: It’s Your Choice resources support those rights,” he said.

To learn more about how the new clinical care standard can be applied in aged care settings, register for OPAN’s upcoming webinar – Medication: It’s your choice update – on Tuesday 21 May, 12:30–1:30pm.

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