Alberta Long-term Care Homes Reduce Antipsychotic Use by 50%


The provincial government health service of Alberta, Canada recently concluded a successful pilot project that reduced the use of antipsychotic medications for patients with dementia in long-term care facilities by over 50%, according to Global News.

The pilot involved 11 long-term care facilities, and at one home the number of patients on antipsychotics dropped from 66 residents to just five. “Staff say the differences they’ve since seen in their patients have been incredible,” reports Global News.

Care providers report that using more personalized approaches such as moving bath times or letting patients sleep in or have an afternoon nap have made a huge difference. “We’ve had a number of residents who are now enjoying what they enjoyed before — so playing the piano, knitting, recognizing their loved ones,” one carer said.

“For many years, she needed assistance at every meal when eating or drinking. A few months ago, I was surprised to see that she could eat and drink by herself,” one person tearfully recounted to Global News about his aunt who’d been taken off antipsychotics. “On her 98th birthday she proceeded to read her birthday cards and thank all the persons individually — again, another surprise.”

“The initiative is now being rolled out to long-term care facilities across Alberta,” reports Global News.

Reducing certain medications makes ‘huge difference’ for some dementia patients (Global News, September 10, 2014)


  1. “moving bath times or letting patients sleep in or have an afternoon nap have made a huge difference.” Oh, really? Actually taking into account people’s wishes about how their life should be like and letting them control their own day is making them less aggressive, disruptive and “in need of medication”? Wow, I’d have never thought of that.

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    • Nursing homes are almost as bad as being in a psych “hospital.” Everything is regimented and scheduled and nothing is set for the convenience of the residents. Everything is about making it easier on the staff and they could care less about what the residents want or feel about anything. I worked in a “good” nursing home and still saw people drugged with Haldol if they “acted up” the least little bit. If residents were feisty or what the staff interpreted as being “demanding” they got zapped with the toxic drugs. Then, they ended up in Gerry chairs so they couldn’t get up and walk around. You are totally at the mercy of the staff and even in the good places you don’t want to know what happens to people behind the closed doors of their rooms.

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        • It is rampant in every place when vulnerable people are supposed to be cared for by strangers. I’ve heard a friend neurologist complaining how elderly people in group houses are drugged with huge amounts of neuroleptics and how criminal it is. Yet nobody does anything about it.

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  2. ….Staff say the differences they’ve since seen in their patients have been incredible

    If staff were required to get a shot of haldol while in training and before they were permitted to ever administer it…you would see a greater reduction in its use. This kind of requirement does have a precedent…most cops need to be tased before being issued a taser..

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