A Canadian pilot project is aiming to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs in long-term care homes across the country.

Statistics show that one in three long-term care residents in Canada is on antipsychotic medication without a diagnosis of psychosis from a doctor.

That was one of the topics discussed at a recent conference in Banff, AB, led by the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement.

Mimie Carroll, director of long-term care and community supports for Central Health, attended the conference.

Carroll said statistics show antipsychotic drugs are used in long-term care homes more in this province than any other area of the country.

Myriad of issues when used long-term

She told CBC that antipsychotics are often used as sleep aids and to treat symptoms of dementia — but feels there are other options.

"There's a time and place for antipsychotics, but being used as the last resort as opposed to the first resort," Carroll said. 

"So, I think there's a lot more education that we can certainly offer and provide to our frontline staff that is certainly working in that environment on a daily basis." 

Carroll said the drugs can cause falls, dizziness, strokes and heart attacks when used long-term.

Fifteen teams from organizations in seven provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador and one territory, are participating in the project.

Participating organizations are located in urban, rural and northern settings.