February 26, 2019

New tool to monitor antipsychotic use in residential care

DTA has developed a tool to help aged care providers monitor their use of antipsychotic medications.

Dementia Training Australia has developed a tool to help aged care providers monitor their use of antipsychotic medications.


The Antipsychotic Tracking Tool (APTT) generates audit reports and graphs to determine the prevalence of the use of antipsychotic medications in residential care facilities.

The tool allows facilities to follow changes in their use of antipsychotic medications for all their residents over time. It includes state-based benchmark percentages from the national RedUSe project which may be a useful comparator when sites interpret their own results.

Development of the tool comes as the Department of Health updates provider resources for the new Aged Care Quality Standards to address concerns about the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications as a form of chemical restraint.

Standard 3, which addresses the personal and clinical care of aged care residents, now refers to medications being “prescribed inappropriately in people aged 65 years and over for their sedative effects – that is, a form of chemical restraint for people with psychological behavioural symptoms of dementia or delirium.”

DTA Director Andrew Stafford said the new standards are an important opportunity to optimise practices around medication use.

“There is now more than 30 years’ worth of data suggesting that antipsychotic medications don’t work very well for most people with responsive behaviours, and may cause serious adverse effects,” Dr Stafford said.

“Despite this, their widespread use continues in some – not all – residential care facilities, due to a variety of barriers including limited staff knowledge, processes and commitment to change.”

The tracking tool is one of the ways DTA is working to upskill the aged care workforce in the area of medication management. DTA also offers the Medication Management Consultancy for organisations, a one-hour online course, and a medication management appdesigned to reduce unnecessary medications.

DTA is funded by the Federal Government to provide dementia education and training across Australia.

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