Rajesh Prasher, 40, is just one of the people who has benefited from the national STOMP/STAMP program to which the Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust has pledged support.
STOMP, which stands for stop taking medication for people with a learning disability, autism, or both, aims to help people stay healthy and have a good quality of life.
Rajesh, from Bradford, was diagnosed with a delay in all areas except his gross motor development, at a young age. This led to struggles throughout his life, including obsessive and aggressive behavior and seizures, for which he was eventually prescribed medication.
Medications for this stuff can cause problems if people take them for too long and can cause side effects like; gaining weight, feeling tired or “drugged” and having physical health issues, that’s where STOMP comes in.
Tracey Duggan, Services Manager at 1 Bedes Close Care Home, where Rajesh resides, said: “With Dr Lawson, Rajesh’s consultant, we started looking at STOMP and reducing the medications Rajesh was taking. Rajesh was fully on board with this process and by using his iPad with Dr Lawson he was able to explain why he was taking his medication and that he wanted to reduce what he was taking.
This reduction was introduced over a period of time and regularly reviewed, we have shared information frequently to monitor the process.
With the help of staff from the learning disabilities team at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust and 1 Bede’s Close in Bradford, Rajesh’s medication has now been successfully reduced and he reports feeling much better.
Rajesh is non-verbal and uses his iPad to communicate, about coming off his meds he said: “I feel better without them now but it was hard to come off them.” He explains that when he took the drug, he felt “sick, sick and frustrated”.
Psychotropic drugs affect brain function and include drugs for psychosis, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and epilepsy. Sometimes they are also given to people because their behavior is considered difficult.
People with a learning disability, autism, or both are more likely to receive these drugs than other people.
These drugs are suitable for some people. They can help people stay safe and healthy. Sometimes there are other ways to help people so that they need less medicine or none at all.
Victoria Donnelly, Strategic Health Facilitator and Clinical Specialist responsible for learning for people with disabilities, said: “As an organization we have been working under the STOMP/STAMP principles for some time, but we wanted to formally commit to support our service users and their families.
The process means we do a self-assessment to see where we are now, and then submit an action plan to say how we’re going to improve in those areas. This can be in things such as training staff to do with STOMP or ensuring that we work in partnership with other organisations.
Public Health England says that every day around 30,000 to 35,000 adults with learning disabilities take psychotropic drugs, despite not having the health conditions the drugs are intended for.