New reports on the use of anti-psychotic drugs on dementia, and the call to reduce its use.
Once again there are reports of powerful anti-psychotic drugs being used in situations in which they were never designed. The latest cases seen is that people suffering from dementia are being giving anti-psychotic drugs to help control them.
Dementia patients can sometimes get frustrated and angry due to their failing memory and cognitive function. Many people are aware that they have a problem and this simply causes frustration which can manifest itself, sometimes, with anger and violence.
However, for the most part dementia patients require gentle care and aid to ensure that they are safe, that they eat and follow basic hygiene. They are not mentally ill or in need of anti-psychotic drugs.
NHS Reported the Problem in 2009
In 2009 the NHS reported that “About 145000 people with dementia are wrongly being prescribed powerful anti-psychotic medication which causes around 1800 deaths a year”. Source: Antipsychotic use in dementia.
Today a campaign has been started by over 50 health and social care groups to reduce the usage of these antipsychotic drugs.
The care industry is in crisis, only yesterday we heard the news of Southern Cross closing many homes, and there are constant talks regarding public health care, especially for our aging population.
Prescribing these drugs is the cheap and easy option. A care home worker can manage many patients if they are all doped up but may only be able to look after a single patient if they are not given drugs. The drugs are used to control people, not to cure people. This needs to change.
What makes the use of antipsychotic drugs even worse though is evidence that using these drugs can make dementia even worse. In some people these pwoerful drugs have have led to an inability of people to talk, to walk and are linked with increased risk of stroke and early death.
The Dementia Action Alliance has been formed to combat this growing trend. It is a collaboration of the Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK and the Department of Health. They are campaigning for all current prescriptions for dementia patients to be reviewed by the end of March 2012.
Using these drugs is not a form of care, it is the result of an absence of care.