“It’s chemical restraint”: 1 in 5 residents receiving antipsychotics

They noted that gaps in the regulation of chemical and physical restraint in aged care settings is a “significant human rights issue” in Australia.

The regulation of chemical restraint has been reinforced from July 1, 2021. From this date, when drugs are used as chemical restraint, the prescriber must obtain consent. In the common situation where the senior is unable to provide consent, the consent will have to come from the “restrictive practice surrogate”.

The new legislation also requires chemical restraint to be used only when there is clear documentation of behavior that may cause harm or distress to the older person, there is a risk of harm to the person or to another person and that there has been an assessment of this behavior by a physician or nurse practitioner with day-to-day knowledge of the older person or by a behavior support specialist.

There must also be documentation of alternative strategies that have been tried, and that what is being offered is the least restrictive alternative.

However, the latest QI data shows that rates of psychotropic drug use remain high.

Suppliers must be held accountable

Human Rights Watch released a statement suggesting that the high rate of antipsychotic drugs in care for the elderly is linked to inadequate staffing and training, factors that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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