Background: Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) commonly occur among cognitively impaired people in geriatric care. BPSD are often managed with antipsychotic drugs, despite the associated serious health risks. The aim of the present study was to discover factors associated with the use of antipsychotics.
Methods: A cross-sectional study in all geriatric care units in the county of Västerbotten, Sweden, which included 2017 residents aged 65 years and over with cognitive impairment (mean age was 83.5 years). Data were collected from prescription records and observations made by care staff of BPSD among residents during the preceding week. A multivariate regression model was con-structed to find factors independently associated with antipsychotic drug use.
Results: Eleven factors were independently associated with the use of antipsychotics. Aggressive, verbally disruptive and wandering behavior, hallucinatory and depressive symptoms, male sex, living in a group dwelling for people with dementia, imposed mental workload, the ability to rise from a chair, activities of daily living (ADL) dependency and lower age all correlated significantly.
Conclusions: Antipsychotic drug treatment of old people with cognitive impairment in geriatric care is common, and determined not only by the patient's symptoms but also by factors related more closely to the caregiver and the caring situation. These findings raise important questions about the indications for drug treatment in relation to the patient's quality of life.