PEI

Finding the 'right spot' for anti-psychotic drugs in dementia treatment

Health PEI is hoping to reduce the use of anti-psychotic medications with dementia patients in long-term care.

Health PEI launches study examining holistic approach to treating dementia

Andrew MacDougall, the director of long-term care for Health PEI, says the study involves training staff so the use of drugs can be minimized. (CBC)

Health PEI is hoping to reduce the use of anti-psychotic medications with dementia patients in long-term care.

It has launched a year-and-a-half long study with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement.

According to Health PEI, almost 22 per cent of long-term care residents on P.E.I. are on anti-psychotics, but don't have a diagnosis of psychosis. That's slightly below the national average.

Andrew MacDougall, the director of long-term care for Health PEI, says anti-psychotics can help with behavioural issues with dementia, but it can have downsides too.

'Appropriate utilizations'

"They've been known to have a sedative effect. It might help promote disengagement from someone's day to day life. There's a noted difference when it comes to falls, another risk behaviour. So there's a pro and a con so the focus of this is try to hit the right spot and focus on appropriate utilizations."

MacDougall said the study, which began a few months ago, involves training staff so the use of drugs can be minimized in favour of a more holistic approach. That could include art, pet therapy, visits from children and other methods, he said.

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With files from CBC News: Compass

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