Medication use and cognitive impairment among residents of aged care facilities

TitleMedication use and cognitive impairment among residents of aged care facilities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsL. Hanjani S, Hubbard R.E, Freeman C.R, Gray L.C, Scott I.A, Peel N.M
JournalIntern Med J
Date PublishedFeb 24
ISBN Number1444-0903
Accession Number32092243

BACKGROUND: Potentially inappropriate polypharmacy is common in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). This is of particular concern among people with cognitive impairment who, compared with cognitively intact residents, are potentially more sensitive to the adverse effects of medications. AIM: To compare the patterns of medication prescribing of RACF residents based on cognitive status. METHODS: De-identified data collected during telehealth-mediated geriatric consultations with 720 permanent RACF residents were analysed. Residents were categorised into cognitively intact, mild to moderate impairment, and severe impairment groups using the interRAI Cognitive Performance Scale. The number of all regular and when-required medications used in the past three days, the level of exposure to anticholinergic/sedative medications and potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs), and the use of preventive and symptom control medications were compared across the groups. RESULTS: The median number of medications was 10 (IQR 8-14). Cognitively intact residents were receiving significantly more medications (median (IQR) 13 (10-16)) than those with mild to moderate (10 (7-13)) or severe (9 (7-12)) cognitive impairment (p < 0.001). Overall, 82% of residents received at least one anticholinergic/sedative medication and 26.9% were exposed to one or more PIM, although the proportions of those receiving such medications were not significantly different across the groups. Of 7658 medications residents were taking daily, 21.3% and 11.7% were classified as symptom control and preventive medications respectively with no significant difference among the groups in their use. CONCLUSION: Our findings highlight the need for optimising prescribing in RACF residents, with particular attention to medications with anticholinergic effects. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Short TitleIntern Med J