Three women smiling together

One-in-four long term care residents in Canada is prescribed antipsychotic medication without a diagnosis of psychosis. Research shows that antipsychotic medications are minimally effective in managing the psychological and behavioural symptoms associated with dementia and are associated with worsening cognitive functions and serious adverse events.

The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes (NBANH) are working together, with funding support from the Government of New Brunswick, to improve dementia care through the appropriate use of antipsychotic medications in New Brunswick nursing homes.

About the Collaborative

The New Brunswick Appropriate Use of Antipsychotic (NB-AUA) Collaborative is a fully bilingual initiative that equips organizations with improvement and change management capacity, enhanced leadership skills and new partnerships across sectors and the province.

The objectives of the NB-AUA Collaborative are to:

  • Reduce inappropriate use of antipsychotics in nursing homes
  • Improve the quality and experience of dementia care for nursing home residents, families and staff
  • Build individual and organizational capacity in designing, implementing, evaluating, sustaining and spreading patient-centred and data-driven dementia care innovations

Participating homes will learn about:

  • Using data to inform care planning
  • Conducting regular medication reviews
  • Working in multi-disciplinary teams
  • Engaging families, staff, clinicians and leadership
  • Implementing person-centred approaches to dementia care


Dementia is a debilitating condition that affects the quality of life of many Canadians and their families. This program will help improve the appropriate use of medication to treat seniors and their health.

The Hon. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health

Addressing the issue of healthy aging and care for seniors is a top priority for our government, as our seniors’ population continues to grow. This important investment of $600,000 will help improve care for residents of nursing homes diagnosed with dementia and reduce costs to our nursing homes.

The Hon. Cathy Rogers, Minister of Social Development, New Brunswick


Building on Success

The NB-AUA collaborative builds on the success of an initiative that was initially developed in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, which later became CFHI’s pan-Canadian Reducing Antipsychotic Medication in Long Term Care collaborative (June 2014-September 2015). Fifty-seven long term care facilities across seven Canadian provinces and one territory participated in the pan-Canadian collaborative. Watch the video »

More than half of the targeted residents in this collaborative had their antipsychotic medication discontinued or significantly reduced and experienced additional benefits. NBANH and CFHI are working together to help other New Brunswick nursing homes achieve similar results through the NB-AUA Collaborative.

About the Issue

  • Symptoms of dementia can include aggression, resistance to care and other challenging or disruptive behaviours.
  • In such instances, antipsychotic medicines are often prescribed, but they provide limited benefit and can cause serious harm, including premature death.
  • In Canada, one-in-four residents (27.5%) of long term care is taking antipsychotic medication without a diagnosis of psychosis.
  • Non-medication interventions, such as patient-centred approaches, have proven to be effective in managing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia and addressing challenging behaviours.
  • Identifying and addressing causes of behaviour change can make drug treatment unnecessary.
  • New Brunswick has among the highest provincial rates of antipsychotic use in the elderly. In 2013, the rate of antipsychotic medication use was nearly two times higher in New Brunswick than the rest of Canada.
  • It is forecast that by 2020, the New Brunswick population will be five years older than the national average.


The NB-AUA Collaborative will run from March 2016 to March 2017.

New Brunswick Appropriate Use of Antipsychotics Timeline