A series of digital animations produced by ARC East Midlands to highlight the risk of dementia associated with a group of medicines called anticholinergics (ACB burden) were part of a suite of resources used by an award-winning project to raise awareness of the issue.
Drugs commonly given to treat depression, psychosis, bladder disorders, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy may increase the risk of dementia for those who use them if over 55 years of age. The medicines used for these conditions are called anticholinergics and a national campaign has been launched to help people understand this risk, and what can be done to avoid it.
Researchers found that if people aged 55 years old and above take these medicines for the equivalent of three years or more, it may increase their risk of developing dementia.
To help people understand the risk of dementia from these medicines, ARC East Midlands has produced a series of short informative videos.
The videos also highlight ‘anticholinergic burden (ACB)’. In Pennine Lancashire a team of medicines management professionals have been actively helping care home residents to reduce the risk and burden of anticholinergic medicine and in doing so successfully won a national award for their work. Many care home residents have benefitted from this work
Since 2018, Anne Bentley Lead Medicines Optimisation Pharmacist, East Lancs CCG and ELHT Specialist Medicines Optimisation Care Home (SMOCH) team service lead, together with Senior Pharmacy Technician Jane Shanahan, of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT), and her colleagues from the SMOCH team have worked on a quality improvement project titled ‘ACB Triage in Care Homes for Medicines Optimisation Review and Beyond…’.
This has involved implementing an innovative pathway on the wards of their local Trust (ELHT), where ACB score is calculated for all adults, as well as training multiple primary care healthcare professional groups, providing awareness of how to triage ACB score in frail and older people. This has resulted in a reduction of risk for patients successfully avoiding a diagnosis of dementia, and helping them to live a more independent life.
The SMOCH team’s project won the gold award in the PrescQIPP’s Annual Awards and Annual Event 2021. The ARC East Midlands videos is part of a suite of resources used in raising awareness of the issue.
Jane Shanahan said: “As part of the presentation and training for train healthcare professionals, we share the great ACB videos from your campaign and there is also the one for patients which we think members of the public will benefit from viewing. If you know anyone who you think might benefit from this, whether carers, family or patients, please share this useful and potentially life-changing video.
“The feedback from health care professionals is that your videos have helped to increase ACB awareness, supporting the triage process for structured medication review.”
Published on: 20 Jan 2022