York Care Centre Chosen to Play Role in Major Study of Anti-psychotic Medications

The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, an important national healthcare safety organization, has chosen York Care Centre to be part of a national study on the inappropriate use of psychotropic medications in the care of people with dementia.  “We are pleased and proud to be part of this study since it will lead to improvements in the care of frail elders not only at York Care Centre but across the country,” said Kevin Harter, President/CEO of York Care Centre.   He went on to note that “the use of anti-psychotic medication has been part of the treatment regime for many elders for decades yet the standards used for employing such drugs vary across the country and there is a need to establish best practice in this area of care.”  York Care Centre has been chosen as one of 15 organizations across the country to participate in this study.

The use of drugs in elder care is a significant cost element both to families, to residents, and to the government and any reduction in cost is helpful to many.  But the most important element of the study is to bring some standardization to bear on when and when not to use these drugs.  While in many cases, such drugs are essential to the care and safety to certain elders, in other cases the drugs can tend to incapacitate people emotionally and physically.  “So the key is to find the balance so that elders can get maximum enjoyment from their latter years of living,” said Rayma O’Donnell, Director of Care at York Care Centre.  She noted that nationally, on average one in three residents in long term care facilities consume anti-psychotic medication and there is very significant variation in practice patterns between facilities.  In some instances, the use of anti-psychotic medication has been reduced by 27% which is not only cost effective but significant in improving the living standards of frail elders.

This is one of several instances in which this Centre of Excellence has been selected to play a key role in research and development programs that improve care for elders.  Other programs have been:  National Faculty on Falls Reduction with Seniors; National Faculty on Elder Abuse; Music and Memory Research; Narrative Development and Training; Dementia Mapping; Seniors Quality Leap Initiative (an international collaborative involving leading long term care centres in Canada and the US).

In this program, data will be collected and reported to CFHI on a regular basis and at the end of the project, the participants will be able to visually see the variations in practice patterns.  The importance of the study is to find some basis of standardization of practice so that quality of living for frail elders can be improved.


Kevin Harter can be contacted for more information

kharter@yorkcarecentre.ca or at 506-444-3880 ext: 2507

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