An effective approach to reduce antipsychotic and benzodiazepine use in aged care homes: the RedUSe project
Westbury, JL and Peterson, GM and Jackson, SL and Gee, PR, An effective approach to reduce antipsychotic and benzodiazepine use in aged care homes: the RedUSe project, ERA 2009 - 8th National Conference of Emerging Researchers in Ageing, 23rd October 2009, Monash University, Melbourne Vic Australia, pp. 201-203. (2009) [Refereed Conference Paper]
The majority of residents of aged care homes have mental health conditions, including challenging behaviours
of dementia, anxiety and sleep disturbance. Although non-drug strategies are recommended, medications such
as antipsychotics and benzodiazepines are commonly used to manage these conditions, and residents often
remain on sedative medications for extended periods despite limited effectiveness and significant side effects.
The aim of the ‘RedUSe’ (Reducing Use of Sedatives) project was to evaluate a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary
intervention to reduce the use of antipsychotics and benzodiazepines in aged care homes. The RedUSe project
was a controlled trial conducted in 25 aged care homes in Tasmania. A series of pharmacist-led strategies were
provided to intervention homes, including medication audit cycles, staff education and interdisciplinary review.
Data on medication use was collected at baseline, 12 weeks and 26 weeks, with approximately 1600 residents
audited for each measurement. Over the six-month trial, there was a significant reduction in the percentage of
intervention home residents regularly taking benzodiazepines (31.8% to 26.9%, p < 0.005) and antipsychotics
(20.3% to 18.6%, p < 0.05), whereas control home use increased slightly. There were also significantly more
dose reductions/cessations in intervention homes than in control homes (benzodiazepines: 39.6% vs 17.6%, p
< 0.0001; antipsychotics: 36.9% vs 20.9%, p < 0.01). Our findings suggest that strategies coordinated through
community pharmacies, and incorporating the dissemination of local data on medication use, offer an effective
approach to reduce sedative use in aged care homes.
Refereed Conference Paper
RedUSe project, IT medication audit, aged care homes, mental health, anxiety, dementia, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, sedative medication