The use of antipsychotic medication for dementia patients should be a “short-term intervention” that needs “careful audit and monitoring”, the Welsh Government has said in its new Dementia Action Plan for Wales: 2018–2022.
The government also pledged to respond to the recommendations of its Health, Social Care and Sport Committee inquiry into the use of antipsychotic medication. Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of the Welsh Pharmacy Board, welcomed the news, saying it was “particularly pleasing that the issue of inappropriate use of antipsychotic medicines among dementia patients is being addressed”.
“We have campaigned very hard for this, working closely with key strategic partners including Alzheimer’s Society, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and the Royal College of Psychiatrists,” she said.
RPS Wales had contributed to the inquiry into the use of antipsychotic medication, Scott-Thomas said, and had spoken directly to assembly members about the implications of using antipsychotic medication in care homes. “We await the recommendations of the health committee’s inquiry and will continue our calls for urgent action to be taken,” she said.
RPS Wales’s 2016 policy document, Improving Medicines Use for Care Home Residents, identified inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotics in care homes as an opportunity for improvement.