People entering aged care facility with a new GP experience increase in medication

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People with dementia entering aged care facilities with a new GP experience a 20% increase in medication, according to a study by UNSW Sydney.

This compares to the percentage increase for medicines dispensed by those who saw their usual GP was 9% or a known GP 10%. They dispensed more antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and antidepressants.

44% of new residents with dementia saw a new GP.

“There’s a big uptick in prescribing just after entry to residential aged care. We also know anecdotally that many people change GP when they go into residential care. So, what we looked at was whether this increase in prescriptions was related to a change in their usual GP,” said lead author Dr Heidi Welberry at the Centre for Big Data Research in Health, UNSW Sydney.

The study, which was published in the Medical Journal of Australia, analysed data from 2,250 new residents with a dementia diagnosis prior to entering residential care between January 2010 and June 2014 from the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study in NSW.