Medication isn’t always the best solution
Antipsychotic drugs like Haldol or Seroquel are used to treat people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. They’re also commonly used to manage difficult behaviors in dementia patients.
There’s a tendency, especially in facilities, to over-medicate older adults when they show difficult behaviors. It can be hard to deal with angry, yelling, uncooperative people, but the first solution shouldn’t be to try antipsychotic drugs.
Instead, trying to figure out what’s causing the problem should be the first step. Maybe the person is in pain, scared, or has an infection. All of those are things that can cause bad behavior and are problems that can be fixed.
This nursing home is doing it right
Pathstone Living, a Minnesota memory care facility, has the right idea. Only about 5% of their residents are on antipsychotic drugs.
Their approach is smart. Any staff member who notices problem behavior is responsible for trying to figure out what’s causing it. Once the cause is identified, they can usually solve the problem and prevent the problem behavior.
They also have special activities and surprising details like a “treasure chest” where residents can look through drawers to find treasures like old-fashioned hats or recipe books.
Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are often the most difficult because they can’t communicate to let others know about their needs. But if this nursing home can figure out how to keep these residents happier and healthier without dangerous drugs, so can others.
Next Step Read the full story at NPR
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: Happy Dietitian