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Neuroleptic and benzodiazepine use in long-term care in urban and rural Alberta: characteristics and results of an education intervention to ensure appropriate use

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 October 2005

Brad F. Hagen
Affiliation:
School of Health Sciences, The University of Lethbridge, Canada
Chris Armstrong-Esther
Affiliation:
School of Health Sciences, The University of Lethbridge, Canada
Paddy Quail
Affiliation:
Department of Family Medicine, The University of Calgary, Canada
Robert J. Williams
Affiliation:
School of Health Sciences, The University of Lethbridge, Canada
Peter Norton
Affiliation:
Department of Family Medicine, The University of Calgary, Canada
Carole-Lynn Le Navenec
Affiliation:
Faculty of Nursing, The University of Calgary, Canada
Roland Ikuta
Affiliation:
Senior's Health, Chinook Health Region, Canada
Maureen Osis
Affiliation:
Faculty of Nursing, The University of Calgary, Canada
Val Congdon
Affiliation:
Rural Health, Calgary Health Region, Canada
Roxane Zieb
Affiliation:
Calgary Health Region, Canada

Abstract

Objectives: To examine the use of psychotropic drugs in 24 rural and urban long-term care (LTC) facilities, and compare the effect of an education intervention for LTC staff and family members on the use of psychotropic drugs in intervention versus control facilities.

Methods: Interrupted time series with a non-equivalent no-treatment control group time series. Data on drug use were collected in 24 Western Canadian LTC facilities (10 urban, 14 rural) for three 2-month time periods before and after the intervention. Pharmacy records were used to collect data on drug, class of drug, dose, administration, and start/stop dates. Chart reviews provided demographics, pro re nata (prn) use, and indications for drug use. Subjects comprised 2443 residents living in the 24 LTC facilities during the 1-year study. An average of 796.33 residents (32.7%) received a psychotropic drug. An education intervention on psychotropic drug use in LTC was offered to intervention physicians, nursing staff, pharmacists and family members.

Results: Approximately one-third of residents received a psychotropic drug during the study, often for considerable lengths of time. A minority of psychotropic drug prescriptions had a documented reason for their use, and 69.5% of the reasons would be inappropriate under Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) legislation. Few psychotropic drug prescriptions were discontinued or reduced during the study. More urban LTC residents received neuroleptics and benzodiazepines than their rural counterparts (26.1% vs. 15.7%, and 18.0% vs. 7.6%, respectively). The education intervention did not result in any significant decline in the use of these drugs in intervention facilities.

Conclusion: The results suggest substantial use of psychotropic drugs in LTC, although rural LTC residents received approximately half the number of psychotropic drugs compared with urban residents. A resource-intensive intervention did not significantly decrease the use of psychotropics. There is a need for better monitoring of psychotropic drugs in LTC, particularly given that voluntary educational efforts alone may be ineffective agents of change.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© International Psychogeriatric Association 2005

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