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Prescribing of psychotropic medication for nursing home residents with dementia: a general practitioner survey

Authors Cousins JM, Bereznicki LRE, Cooling NB, Peterson GM

Received 17 July 2017

Accepted for publication 9 September 2017

Published 3 October 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 1573—1578

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S146613

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker


Justin M Cousins, Luke RE Bereznicki, Nick B Cooling, Gregory M Peterson

School of Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify factors influencing the prescribing of psychotropic medication by general practitioners (GPs) to nursing home residents with dementia.
Subjects and methods: GPs with experience in nursing homes were recruited through professional body newsletter advertising, while 1,000 randomly selected GPs from south-eastern Australia were invited to participate, along with a targeted group of GPs in Tasmania. An anonymous survey was used to collect GPs’ opinions.
Results: A lack of nursing staff and resources was cited as the major barrier to GPs recommending non-pharmacological techniques for behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD; cited by 55%; 78/141), and increasing staff levels at the nursing home ranked as the most important factor to reduce the usage of psychotropic agents (cited by 60%; 76/126).
Conclusion: According to GPs, strategies to reduce the reliance on psychotropic medication by nursing home residents should be directed toward improved staffing and resources at the facilities.

Keywords: dementia, nursing homes, general practitioners, antipsychotic agents, benzodiazepines

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