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Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) include a range of neuropsychiatric disturbances such as agitation, aggression, depression, and psychotic symptoms. These common symptoms can impact patients’ functioning and quality of life. Antipsychotic medication can be prescribed to alleviate some symptoms, but this comes with significant risks including cerebrovascular events and increased mortality. We aimed to review antipsychotic prescribing of the Harrogate Older Adult Community Mental Health Team (CMHT); to measure compliance with NICE guidance and local policy and thus improve the prescribing and monitoring process.
Using electronic patient records, we identified all patients under the care of the CMHT with a diagnosis of dementia currently receiving antipsychotic treatment; a total of 55 patients. A random sample of 24 patients were reviewed; their records were hand searched for relevant information.
The standards measured were derived from the NICE Guideline (NG97) June 2018: ‘Dementia: assessment, management and support for people living with dementia and their carers’ as well as local trust guidance.
All 24 patients were receiving antipsychotics for severe distress or aggression. 88% of patients had an assessment of sources of distress before treatment was started, but only 42% had a non-pharmacological intervention before antipsychotic treatment was started. Once antipsychotic treatment had started this increased to 58%. For some patients, the reason for not receiving a non-pharmacological intervention was due to urgency of treatment or being on a waiting list for occupational therapy, but for most the reason was not explicitly documented.
For 63%, there was evidence of a discussion of the risks of treatment with the patient, carer or family member. 63% had initial baseline blood tests and 54% had a baseline ECG. Of the patients who did not have initial monitoring, a suitable reason was given for just over 60%. Only 33% of patients who had antipsychotic treatment for over 12 weeks had a trial of discontinuation or dose reduction. Less than 22% of patients had physical health monitoring at one year of treatment.
There were shortfalls in several areas including the offer of non-pharmacological interventions, regular review of the ongoing need for antipsychotics, and physical health monitoring.
Introduction of a checklist before antipsychotics are prescribed is recommended, to include discussion of risks and benefits, non-pharmacological interventions, and initial monitoring. Also recommended is a system to identify when monitoring and review of antipsychotics are due.
JRM was one of twins, delivered by forceps at 29 weeks and suffered serious injury to his spinal cord around the time of his birth. The forceps caused traumatic injury and tearing of the lining of the spinal artery (arterial dissection), and subsequent clot formation within the vessel resulting in vascular injury to the spinal cord due to occlusion of a branch of the anterior spinal artery. It was alleged that this was due to the negligent use of forceps with the claimant in the occipito-lateral (OL) position at birth.
Shoulder dystocia is defined as a vaginal cephalic delivery that requires additional obstetric maneuvers to deliver the fetus after gentle traction has failed. It occurs when either the anterior shoulder impacts behind the maternal symphysis or, less commonly, the posterior shoulder impacts over the sacral promontory. Evidence-based algorithms for the management of shoulder dystocia recommend resolution maneuvers designed to improve the relative dimensions of the maternal pelvis (McRoberts’ position and all-fours position), reduce the diameter of the fetal shoulders (suprapubic pressure and delivery of the posterior arm) and/or move the fetal shoulders into a wider pelvic diameter (suprapubic pressure and internal rotational maneuvers).