Potentially Inappropriate Prescribing in Australian Nursing Home Residents with Advanced Dementia: A Substudy of the IDEAL Study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Palliative Medicine, 2018, 21 (10), pp. 1472 - 1479
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© 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Background: Prescribing medications for nursing home residents with advanced dementia should focus on optimizing function and comfort, reducing unnecessary harms and aligning care goals with a palliative approach. Objective: The aim of the study was to estimate the proportion of Australian nursing home residents with advanced dementia receiving potentially inappropriate medications, and identify those most commonly prescribed and factors associated with their use. Design: Data were collected through retrospective audit of medication charts. Setting/Subjects: Two hundred eighteen nursing home residents with advanced dementia from 20 nursing homes participated in a cluster-randomized controlled trial of case conferencing (the IDEAL Study) from June 2013 to December 2014. Measurements: Inappropriate drug use was defined as medications classified as "never appropriate" by the Palliative Excellence in Alzheimer Care Efforts (PEACE) program criteria. Generalized linear mixed models were used to identify variables predicting use of "never" appropriate medications. Results: Over a quarter (n = 65, 30%) of residents received at least one medication classed as "never" appropriate, the most common being lipid-lowering agents (n = 38, 17.4%), antiplatelet agents (n = 18, 8.3%), and acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (n = 16, 7.3%). Residents who had been at the nursing home for ≤10 months (odds ratio [OR] 5.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.74-18.06) and 11-21 months (OR 5.41, 95% CI 1.67-17.75) had significantly greater odds of receiving a never appropriate medication compared with residents who had been at the nursing home for >5 years. Conclusions: Use of potentially inappropriate medications in Australian nursing home residents with advanced dementia is common. A greater understanding of the rationale that underpins prescribing of medications is required.
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