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Bill on dementia patient care

A bid to regulate the prescription of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia in care homes has been launched by a Labour MP in the Commons.

David Taylor's Management of Dementia in Care Homes Bill, which has cross-party support, would also make dementia training mandatory for care home staff.

Mr Taylor, a member of the all-party group on dementia, said its recent inquiry into the prescription of antipsychotic drugs to care home residents with dementia reached "startling" conclusions.

His Bill seeks to implement the group's recommendations ahead of the government's publication of a national dementia strategy later this year.

Mr Taylor, MP for North West Leicestershire, said there was a consensus among patient and professional organisations, regulators and the care home sector that over-prescribing of antipsychotics was "a massive problem".

Mr Taylor said a lack of training for staff partly explained the "excessive and inappropriate use" of such drugs and "more appropriate" ways of dealing with challenging behaviour must be developed.

He called for care homes to be properly supported by external services, with regular visits from GPs, community psychiatric nurses and psychologists.

Meanwhile, there should be compulsory regulation and audit of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia, he added.

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Do you think dementia training should be mandatory for care home staff? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"YES so many people are in homes and not being given the rights they should have. Antipsychotic drugs are not the answer, having the time talk interact and plain simple kindness can often take the fear off (what is going on, why are they cross with me... I could go on). How we approach people with dementia in our work as carers/nurses has a large impact on the way they react to us. I am now retired but as a nurse who worked with people who suffered with dementia for many years, I can say drugs are not the answer. Thanks for reading this." - Katie Smith, York

"Yes I do. Invariably most carers will have to care for patient's with differing degrees of dementia. Knowledge and understanding is needed so that dignity and quality of life is maintained. This includes allowing the person to be as autonomous as possible with the relevant support and care from carers who understand the degenerative nature of dementia and how it affects that individual and NO they aren't being awkward or naughty... They may not know time and space and need re-orientating... This type of care can only come through adequate knowledge and skills." - Kerry Harris-Pinches, South Staffordshire