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No studies to date have investigated cumulative anticholinergic exposure
and its effects in adults with intellectual disabilities.
To determine the cumulative exposure to anticholinergics and the factors
associated with high exposure.
A modified Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden (ACB) scale score was
calculated for a representative cohort of 736 people over 40 years old
with intellectual disabilities, and associations with demographic and
clinical factors assessed.
Age over 65 years was associated with higher exposure (ACB 1–4 odds ratio
(OR) = 3.28, 95% CI 1.49–7.28, ACB 5+ OR = 3.08, 95% CI 1.20–7.63), as
was a mental health condition (ACB 1–4 OR = 9.79, 95% CI 5.63–17.02, ACB
5+ OR = 23.74, 95% CI 12.29–45.83). Daytime drowsiness was associated
with higher ACB (P<0.001) and chronic constipation
reported more frequently (26.6% ACB 5+ v. 7.5% ACB 0,
Older people with intellectual disabilities and with mental health
conditions were exposed to high anticholinergic burden. This was
associated with daytime dozing and constipation.
A new medication error reporting scheme (‘Safemed’) was introduced within the East Kent NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust. All medication incidents reported using this system in the first year were analysed by the Chief Pharmacist.
Over a 12-month period a total of 66 incidents were reported through Safemed, compared with 55 incidents under the previous system. The low level of reporting made detailed statistical analysis and drawing meaningful conclusions problematic. There was a large variability in reporting between similar sites.
The low level of reporting was associated with cultural factors, in particular the failure to fully implement a ‘no blame’ culture. Until such a culture is established, reporting will remain variable and a systems approach to preventing medication errors will not be adopted, leading to significant clinical risk.
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