Antipsychotics are often prescribed to seniors to manage the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. Yet, generally these symptoms should not be treated with antipsychotics due to the significant side effects and serious complications (such as stroke and death). Non-pharmaceutical approaches should be the first line of treatment in most cases, with antipsychotics used only under strict directives and for a limited time.

Quebec is the province with the highest rate of antipsychotic prescription among people aged 65 and older: between 40 and 60% of residents in certain long-term care facilities are given antipsychotics. The inappropriate use of antipsychotics in long-term care facilities is not unique to this province.

In 2017, the CEOs of all Quebec health and social service institutions providing some level of long-term care agreed, in conjunction with government authorities, to launch an integrated collaborative across Quebec. The collaborative, which is based on CFHI’s Appropriate Use of Antipsychotics (AUA) initiative, operates in close partnership with CFHI and Quebec's leading experts. The aim is to improve the quality and experience of care in long-term care centres (CHSLDs) for people with dementia, their loved ones and staff.

The collaborative has three phases:

  • Phase 1: April 2017 to October 2018: 24 long-term care centres (one per institution)
  • Phase 2: 134 long-term care centres
  • Phase 3: To be determined


Learn more about CFHI's work in spreading and scaling the AUA approach across Canada »

Learn more about Optimizing Practices, Use, Care and Services – Antipsychotics (OPUS-AP) »