Ensuring safe and appropriate hospital discharge prescribing of opioids for people living with dementia.
Pain is a common symptom among people living with dementia. Opioid analgesics are often prescribed for pain at hospital discharge. However, opioids have been associated with a range of side-effects including constipation, delirium, falls, trauma and death. People with dementia may be at higher risk of medication-related harm and also prescribed effective pain relief less often compared to people without dementia. The decision not to prescribe opioids at hospital discharge reduces the risk of side-effects but increases the risk of inadequate pain management.
This study aims to investigate opioid prescriptions on hospital discharge and the risk of rehospitalisation and death in people living with dementia. It is a retrospective study linking diagnoses, medications, re-hospitalisations and death. The primary outcome will be time to rehospitalisation or death. The aim and implications of this research is to inform future strategies and recommendations to improve pain management and reduce the risk of opioid-related harm in people with dementia.
Ms Gibson is currently the Senior General Medicine Pharmacist at Eastern Health in Victoria, which covers three acute hospital sites.