The over-prescription of antipsychotic medication to people with dementia in care will be targeted in a new million-dollar project led by UNSW researchers.

Headed up by UNSW Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty, the project will receive Federal Government funding under its Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants Fund.

In making the announcement, the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, said it was important to improve the support available to people with dementia, including best practice medication management.

“There is strong evidence of adverse effects of polypharmacy in older people and of the benefits of deprescribing generally and antipsychotics particularly,” says Professor Brodaty, who heads the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, based at UNSW Medicine.

The project, Halting Antipsychotic use in Long Term Care (HALT), is a collaboration between consumers, aged care providers, staff, GPs, Medicare Locals and researchers to improve outcomes for people with dementia in care.

“We think there will be a reduction in complications, rates of decline and mortality without consequently increasing behavioural and psychological symptoms,” says Professor Brodaty, who is also with UNSW’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing.

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Media Office, 0422 934 024