Healthcare professionals' experiences with the use of antipsychotics in dementia

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Background: Antipsychotics are commonly administered to nursing home residents with dementia, despite the associated risk of severe adverse events. Objective: This study aimed to explore healthcare professionals' experiences in caring for nursing home residents with dementia, with a focus on rationales behind the use of antipsychotics. Method: Twelve semi-structured interviews with healthcare professionals' from Danish nursing homes were conducted and analyzed using the method Systematic Text Condensation. Results: Nonpharmacological interventions were reported as the primary approach to care and the first-choice treatment for behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). Use of antipsychotics was considered to serve as a last resort, reserved for residents with severe symptoms. However, most informants preferred a more limited use. The study identified four main barriers to reduce the use of antipsychotics: “Scarcity of resources”, “Perceiving antipsychotic use to provide relieve”, “Reluctance towards deprescribing” and “Limited access to medical counseling”, and three potential enablers: “Updating knowledge and nonpharmacological competencies”, “Management support and clear procedures” and “Regularity in interdisciplinary collaboration”. Conclusion: The treatment and care were reported as primarily following guidelines in BPSD. Several barriers were perceived to challenge the healthcare professionals' preference of limited use of antipsychotics. To further reduce the use, this study highlights the importance of understanding the adverse effects caused by limited resources, enhancing employee knowledge and competencies and ensuring regular interprofessional collaboration for assessing and reassessing the need to use antipsychotics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100446
JournalExploratory research in clinical and social pharmacy
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2024 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Antipsychotics, Dementia, Deprescribing, Geriatric, Primary health care, Qualitative research

ID: 393773686