Dementia medication should enhance quality of life and be prescribed only when there is no reasonable alternative. This is the message in a recent communication for care homes published by the Scottish Government.
Care homes should:
- engage with NHS Education for Scotland and Scottish Social Services Council to develop staff understanding of stress and distress in people living with dementia
- build links and relationships with community mental health teams and/or care home liaison teams and practice formulation-led interventions
- monitor medication and the condition it is prescribed for, including knowledge of any side effects
- have in place good collaborative working with GPs and pharmacists. Strategies and methods to support people experiencing stress and distress must be clearly developed, noted in the personal plan and known to all staff.
Care home staff should:
- be knowledgeable and confident to ensure that dementia medication prescribed is enhancing quality of life and doing what it is intended to do
- understand and know their residents well enough to use non-pharmacological interventions in the first instance thus reducing the need for “as required” medication. Where this is prescribed for stress and distress, we expect to see this detailed in personal plans, with clear conditions for its use and expected outcomes, with a record of whether outcomes were actually met.
Read the full communication here.