Care or Control?

I spotted this story on the BBC today which reported that anti-psychotic drugs are being used, perhaps too much, perhaps inappropriately, in residential and nursing care homes for residents with dementia.

This is an area that is fairly close to my heart as I have worked with many residential and nursing homes, many service users who have dementia and one or two psychiatrics who have appeared to be a little ‘prescription’ happy.

Having moved to a multi-disciplinary team, from a pure social services setting, I couldn’t help but notice the hierarchical structures within the NHS where the consultant is king.

I wonder if there would (and should) be more of a role for social workers in these teams to question the use of medication and both its relevance and need. I think it is very easy to slip into the mentality of the team within which one is based, but when the emphasis on social care is lost to medicine then all the teams become truly generic to the extent that they make little sense.

I’ll certainly take an active interest in the National Dementia Strategy which is due to be published later this year. Particularly the mentioned twelve week reviews. That would, indeed, be a wonderful safeguard of the quality of services which are provided – but it just doesn’t seem possible within a system that struggles to provide annual reviews.