A care home based in Skelmersdale has been so successful in helping to lead the way in reducing the use of anti-psychotic medication used to treat people with dementia that none of its 70-plus residents are prescribed them.
Birch Green Care Home - part of the Springhill Care Group - is taking part in a major new national initiative being conducted by The Association for Dementia Studies to reduce the use of anti-psychotics.
Birch Green has committed to the Focused Intervention Training and Support (FITS) initiative, commissioned by The Alzeimer’s Society and the University of Worcester, which involves 10 training programmes each delivered over a 10-day period followed by supervision and mentoring.
The exercise has increased the understanding and awareness of dementia and provided tools, ideas and resources to further enable staff to provide high quality person-centred care.
This incorporates simple techniques such as using residents’ life stories to incorporate past hobbies and interests into their lives. The dementia coaches then pass on the knowledge to other staff working within the homes.
General manager at Birch Green, Catherine Shawarby said: “We were progressing with our own programme in reducing the use of anti-psychotic medication but thought this would also support our goals in this area.
“We have rapidly progressed and we are proud to be able to say that none of our residents are now prescribed them. This is a great achievement and I’d like to thank all the staff for their efforts in working towards this milestone.
“The programme finishes in October but we are embedding the structures and practices we have learned to help the way we work and pass on the long-term benefits for our residents.”
Anti-psychotic drugs are inappropriately prescribed to an average of 144,000 people with dementia in the UK every year, doubling the risk of death, trebling the risk of stroke and sometimes leaving people unable to walk or talk.
With two thirds of people in care homes having dementia, it is estimated that this programme could also benefit many thousands more in the future.
Birch Green is a purpose-built care home, which provides high quality nursing and residential care for more than 70 older people, part of the Springhill Care Group of companies which also includes Springhill Care Home, Accrington, and Riversway Nursing Home, Bristol.