MEDIA RELEASE: $200,000 to address the appropriate use of psychotropic medicines for people living with dementia

Published on: August 25, 2020

Professor Simon Bell, Pharmacist and Director of the Centre for Medicine Use and Safety at Monash University has received $200,000 from the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) to lead a multidisciplinary team to develop guidelines for the appropriate use of psychotropic medicines for people living with dementia.

“The Royal Commission into Aged Quality and Safety has highlighted the over-reliance on chemical restraint as one of three areas for immediate action within aged care,” said Professor Bell.

The Royal Commission has found the current aged care system does not deliver uniformly safe, quality care for older Australians and in many cases, relies too heavily on psychotropic medications including antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, mood stabilisers and opioids.

“We propose to adopt, adapt, update and develop guidelines on psychotropic medications to incorporate best available evidence, including for Aboriginal and Torres State Islander peoples, people with intellectual disability and people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.”

“Our goal is to improve care for people living with dementia,” said Professor Bell.

Implementation planning and regular stakeholder engagement will occur concurrently with the guideline development process to enhance translation and uptake.

The guideline will also consider clinical, social and legal dimensions of medication use, as well as non-pharmacological alternatives to psychotropic medications including person-centred approaches.

“The Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) has funded this guideline development in response to the high use of psychotropic medications in residential aged care facilities and the recommendation from the Royal Commission into Aged Care to avoid chemical restraints. Over fifty percent of residents are on at least one psychotropic medication including about a quarter of residents on antipsychotics which can have serious side effects”, said Professor Henry Brodaty, from UNSW Sydney, a Director of the DCRC.

Tara Quirke, one of Australia’s leading advocates for public involvement in dementia research, policy and practice will lead consumer involvement at each stage of the development process.

To find more, please contact professor Simon Bell, Director, Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, Monash University – | (03) 9903-9533