Elderly man with birdAcross Canada, one in four long term care (LTC) residents is on antipsychotic medication without a diagnosis of psychosis – yet the best health evidence says that only 5 to 15% of residents should be taking these medications. Antipsychotics are often prescribed in a bid to reduce challenging behaviours and resistance to care, but they have a sedating effect. For many seniors, antipsychotic medication is minimally effective at best. At worst, it can cause harmful side effects and contribute to falls and hospitalizations.

The good news is that rates of potentially inappropriate antipsychotic use in Canada are falling thanks to the efforts of provincial health quality councils, governments, associations, providers and many others who are expanding appropriate use of antipsychotics (AUA) programs.

At CFHI, we're doing our part to improve elder care by incubating, spreading and scaling the AUA approach across Canada.

We began by supporting the development of the AUA approach in 2010  at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority through our EXTRA: Executive Training Program.

Then, in 2014 and 2015 we spread it across Canada through a pan-Canadian AUA collaborative.

New Brunswick was the first province to work with us to scale the AUA approach starting in 2016 with the New Brunswick Appropriate Use of Antipsychotics (NB-AUA) collaborative.

And now we're supporting Quebec in its own province-wide scale, Optimizing Practices, Use, Care and Services―Antipsychotics (OPUS-AP).

The AUA Approach

AUA Infographic