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B.C. seniors advocate questions why undiagnosed seniors getting antipsychotics

Last Updated Sep 20, 2018 at 2:20 pm PST

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Summary

1/4 of seniors in long-term care homes are receiving antipsychotic medication without a supporting diagnosis

Isobel Mackenzie says even though B.C. has made progress, other provinces are doing a better job

VANCOUVER – The advocate for seniors in British Columbia says a quarter of people living in long-term care homes are receiving antipsychotic medication without a supporting diagnosis.

Isobel Mackenzie says unlike other provinces, B.C. has failed to deal with inappropriate use of the drugs even though figures show the elderly residents have lower rates of psychiatric and mood disorders compared with their counterparts elsewhere in the country.

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She says that while long-term care residents in B.C. have slightly higher rates of dementia, their rates of moderate to severe dementia are lower so their use of antipsychotics is troubling.

Mackenzie says that in the last five years, B.C. has managed to reduce use of antipsychotics by 22 per cent for undiagnosed seniors but it hasn’t made any gains in the last year.

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She says Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario have all done better in decreasing misuse of the drugs and it’s time for B.C. to take more action.

A report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information says residents of long-term care homes in B.C. appear to be healthier than the national average, with lower rates of depression, arthritis and heart and circulatory disease.