Association of Psychotropic Education with Quality of Life: A Before-After Study in Residential Aged Care Facilities

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Background Improving or maintaining quality of life (QoL) is an important aim for caring for people with dementia living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). Objectives This study aimed to investigate the effect of a specific intervention, the Medication Management Consultancy (MMC), on the QoL of residents of RACFs in Western Australia, and to examine the association between psychotropic medications and QoL. Methods A before-after study was conducted. Staff from four RACFs participated in the MMC, and 56 residents with dementia from these RACFs were included. The MMC consisted of an online interactive staff education training course comprising educational videos, and a case study encompassing non-pharmacological strategies, person-centred care for behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), and strategies to reduce the use of antipsychotics. Following the training, posters, reference cards, reminder stickers, administration of the Older Age Psychotropic Quiz (OAPQ), and 30-min video conferences with action groups in RACFs were utilised. At baseline (T0), QoL, neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) and staff distress, cognition, and activities of daily living were assessed by QoL in Alzheimer's Disease (QoL-AD), Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Questionnaire (NPI-Q), Standardised Mini-Mental State Examination (SMMSE) and Bristol Activity of Daily Living Scale (BADLS), respectively, and repeated at 6 (T1) and 12 months (T2). Medication data were obtained from residents' medication charts. Results At baseline, of the 56 participants, 33 completed the study. Compared with baseline (31.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 28.9-33.6), QoL significantly improved at 6 months (33.5, 95% CI 30.9-36.0; p < 0.001) but not from baseline to 12 months (31.09, 95% CI 28.5-33.7; p = 0.58). The NPI-Q severity (residents) significantly improved from 9 (interquartile range [IQR] 11) at T0 to 6 (IQR 9.5) at T1 (p = 0.014) and to 7 (IQR 11) at T2 (p = 0.026). The medians of NPI-Q distress (staff) significantly improved from 12 (IQR 13.5) at T0 to 8 (IQR 9) at T1 (p = 0.013) and to 6 (IQR 11.5) at T2 (p = 0.018). Monthly doses of antipsychotics declined significantly by 51.8% at 6 months (p = 0.003) and by 43.5% at 12 months (p = 0.003); antidepressant doses declined significantly by 25.4% at 6 months (p = 0.013) and by 39.4% at 12 months (p = 0.016); benzodiazepines doses remained stable. QoL and use of psychotropics, age, sex, NPI-severity, and BADLS were not correlated. Conclusion The MMC was associated with improvement in QoL, NPS, staff distress, and reduction in monthly use of antipsychotics and antidepressants among RACF residents. There was no correlation between improved QoL and reduction in use of psychotropic medications, but due to the limitations of our study, this should be confirmed in additional studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-958
Number of pages10
JournalDrugs & Aging
Issue number12
Early online date11 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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