Anonymous

I often talk with relatives of residents who believe that their loved ones are being given antipsychotic medication inappropriately, often with dreadful side effects. 

This appears to happen due to a lack of adequately trained staff, and a lack of care staff overall, in aged care facilities. Staff are too busy to spend the time using good, holistic, behaviour management strategies for those residents who need them. Staff tend not to realise that by using best practice behaviour management strategies in the first place their overall work load would not be increased, because good behaviour management can prevent other problems from occurring.  

Progress notes made by staff might say that a resident is aggressive, but there is not enough information about what preceded or caused the aggression. Sometimes the aggression is triggered by the inappropriate actions of staff. Doctors are simply told that a resident is aggressive and they are asked to prescribe antipsychotic medication to sedate the resident and/or to protect staff.

One doctor admitted recently that he felt pressured into prescribing antipsychotic medication for a resident to prevent OH & S claims by staff.