The number of care home residents living with dementia is on the rise, leading to an increased use of pharmaceuticals. With official recommendations warning against drug overuse, new approaches must be taken. Fulcrum Care consultant Patricia Gooden-Husbands gives her advice on how to shift the balance for a better quality of care
In 2019, a report commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Society calculated that there are currently more than 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK.1 Of this, 343,000 are in care homes, making up 70 per cent of all UK care home residents2 — and the number is rising. By 2040, it is forecast that people living with dementia in the UK could reach 1.6 million, with a growing pressure for new treatments and approaches to be taken.
Why the industry needs to change
Antipsychotics are often prescribed to manage the behavioural and psychological symptoms associated with dementia (BPSD). However, clinical evidence shows limited effectiveness3 in the use of many atypical drugs and suggests that such medications threaten resident safety due to an increased risk of stroke, other cerebrovascular problems, and even death. As many as 1,800 excess deaths and 1,620 cerebrovascular accidents each year in the UK have been attributed to the over-prescription of antipsychotic drugs.4
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