Pills vs. Care

July 08, 2013
Virgil Thomas, ChangingAging.org

With a big nod to Angie McAllister over at Quality of Life, I’d like to share a story of replacing medication with a care partnership. Angie’s full post can be found here regarding a research project studying the drawdown of medication in nursing homes.


“One Elder was admitted to our home on two different medications. He had multiple symptoms such as resisting care, and striking out at caregivers.  Over time with each symptom, his dosage on these medications was increased. Eventually he became quiet and withdrawn. As we began really looking at reducing the use of medications in our home, he was one of the first Elders we placed on a reduction plan.

Staff began to slowly see him start responding more as his medication was decreased. They could determine if he was anxious or troubled and would sing songs to him. He began to sing songs along with them and he no longer resisted care.

He began to absolutely flourish. He started singing Karaoke, loved being outside, started painting, and began interacting with other Elders and Staff daily.

By this point, his medication was completely discontinued. We all learned the things he liked and we could see his personality really shining through.

It was during this process that we discovered each person is an individual and it is our job to learn their habits and rituals and adapt to them.”

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Read this amazing story of what happens when pills are traded for a care partnership. http://t.co/pnjZ9iMdFY


Jana Jones liked this on Facebook.


Hi All, recently we were fortunate to learn about the benefits of minimising medication through the Dementia Beyond Drugs workshops facilitated by Dr Al Power. One of the participants applied the domains of wellbeing to his father’s life (dementia impact and decline in the past 6 months has been significant). He was quite aggressive and withdrawn whilst on increasing medication to ‘control’ his behaviour, with limited success. A conscious decision was made to reduce / eliminate all medication that wasn’t required. The result? The return of the person, less confused and angry…no more aggression….the same wonderful, loving person that they know. And a greater knowledge and understanding of what is important to this person whom they thought they knew well.
We can certainly confirm the same and thank you for sharing the story…”wonders will never cease!”


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