Webstercare launches antipsychotic drug report for aged care

Pharmacy software specialist Webstercare has worked with medicines information service NPS MedicineWise to develop a new reporting function that will allow aged care facilities to monitor and review their use of antipsychotic medications for residents with dementia.

The new quality use of medicines (QUM) report functionality is now available to all Webstercare users through its Medication Management Software (MMS).

The idea is that it will provide pharmacists and aged care nurses with objective measurements that enable them to establish a baseline and identify patterns of use over time. Aged care facilities can also compare their antipsychotic medicine use with published studies.

NPS MedicineWise CEO Lynn Weekes said there was mounting evidence of extensive off label use of antipsychotics for dementia patients in residential aged care.

“While they can occasionally be effective for short-term aggression and psychotic symptoms, we see them being used too often, for too long at high doses and in dangerous combinations,” Dr Weekes said.

“Incorrect use of these medicines can have serious consequences including an increased risk of falls, hip fractures and even death.”

The new reporting mechanism will enable pharmacists to provide information to staff working in residential aged care facilities and aid them in understanding, analysing and effectively managing the appropriate use of antipsychotic medicines for their residents.

Webstercare CEO Gerard Stevens said the QUM report is able to identify residents who may benefit from a medicine review from their doctor.

Mr Stevens said it didn't matter which of the Webstercare products the pharmacist was using, including Webster-pak or Unit Dose 7, as the same data was recorded in the database.

He said the quality and accuracy of the data was incredibly high as every detail of the prescribed drugs, including day and time they must be administered and in what combination, is double-checked by both the pharmacist and the nursing staff.

“The pharmacist, in order to produce a Webster-pak or a Unit Dose 7, has to know what to put in the pack and where to put it,” he said. “The information that goes into the database in our software is very accurate. It has to be, because this is what will be used to pack the medications, and the nurses will use the pack and check it against the medication chart at the home.”

The QUM report is an addition to Webstercare's existing clinical correlation report functionality, which is able to take all of the drugs that a person is on over time and group the events related to that drug in a report. This can then enable doctors and nursing staff to identify if some change in medication over time has contributed to an event, such as a fall.

With that existing functionality, information can be pulled together on all residents and the use of certain drugs, allowing the facility to have a better understanding of overall use.

Mr Stevens said psychotropic drugs such as hypnotics, antipsychotics and antidepressants often have side-effects such as altering vision and gait, and while they have their place they should be closely monitored.

The new function will allow aged care facilities to compare their antipsychotic drug administration with other facilities and to benchmark themselves against two evidence-based studies.

He said the idea was not to produce a guide to overuse or underuse as some facilities will have higher or lower use of antipsychotics for a number of reasons.

“What this will do is help you investigate whether your level is appropriate,” he said. “All medications carry a risk but there are a lot of side-effects with psychotropic drugs as they affect the modalities of neurological symptoms.

“There is appropriate use of antipsychotics but they should be monitored. If there is overuse, you can then intervene and come up with a strategy.

“I believe it has the potential to have a huge impact on the information behind drug usage.”

Posted in Aged Care

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