Dementia Australia was very concerned to learn of reported instances of the misuse of anti-psychotics and restraints in residential aged care as shown by ABC 7.30 in January.
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said the story highlighted, in the most extreme way, flaws in the current aged care system. She said it reinforced the need for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety to focus on education and building the capacity of residential aged care services to support staff to better understand, manage and support people living with dementia with the sometimes complex and challenging symptoms dementia may present.
“Australians need to have confidence in the system such that when they, their families and loved ones become clients of aged care they will be supported with the best health care system possible, along with staff who have current dementia training, knowledge and qualifications,” Ms McCabe said.
“It is crucial to form a partnership between the person living with dementia, family carers, their treating doctor, pharmacist and other health and aged care professionals to consider providing alternatives to the use of antipsychotic medications.
“Having clear roles and responsibilities of those involved in this partnership is also imperative to ensure that medication management, care practices and individual wellbeing is addressed in a holistic, integrated way.
“When it comes to anti-psychotics and physical restraints, in most cases, staff have an inherent desire to want to keep the person they care for safe.
“However, they may be unaware of the potential side effects of the medications, such as increased agitation, increased risk of falls, the potential masking of other symptoms or they may not understand that physically restraining someone could be a breach of their human rights.
“In Dementia Australia’s submission to the Royal Commission we are calling for mandatory levels of dementia-specific education and training.
“This would enable staff to consider and provide alternative treatment options such as administering pain relief, tailoring personal care practices to the individual’s preferences, treating pain or an underlying medical or psychiatric condition, correcting common problems like vision- or hearing-related challenges, or working with the family to engage the person in more meaningful and stimulating activities.
“Staff education and training are paramount to improving the deficiencies in the current system, eliminating the misuse of anti-psychotics and restraints, and treating people with the respect, dignity and care they deserve.”
As carers work in pairs they often talk to one another about many topics. This really ignores the people they are caring for. Makes them objects not people. If you do not focus on the person for whom you are caring how will you know if they are frightened or in pain or ..... This is especially true of those who can no longer speak
I feel as a person working in Age care that sometimes it is needed for some type of restraint to be put it place to prevent serious accidents occurring to the person. However; also, do feel should only be for short period of time if such is needed. I love the fact of sensor mats being in place so you know when the person is trying to get up to go to them as quickly as you can to assist to prevent falls.