The University of Tasmania has been recognised internationally for its successful RedUSe (Reducing Use of Sedatives) project, led by researcher and pharmacist Dr Juanita Westbury from the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre.
Dr Westbury recently received the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Services Learning Network (MHSLN) award for Education, Training and Workforce Development for RedUSe, which was aimed at reducing the use of psychotropic medications (mainly antipsychotic and benzodiazepine medications) in aged care facilities around the country.
RedUSe promoted appropriate management of common mental health symptoms in residential aged care via a multi-strategic, interprofessional approach and was delivered to 150 aged care homes across six states and the ACT, from 2014-2016.
Training on appropriate management of mental health conditions in the aged care sector provided through the project was substantial, with 3000 nurses and carers, GPs and pharmacists attending educational sessions, leading to a significant reduction in the use of sedatives in participating aged care facilities.
“Dr Westbury said it was an honour to receive the award for the project which made a significant difference to staff and patients in aged care facilities around the country.
“The award means recognition for an educational-based project aimed at improving the management of mental health conditions which are extremely common in aged care homes,” she said.
“Often staff have limited training in how to deal with these mental health conditions or the appropriate use of psychiatric medication to manage them.
“The number of aged care facilities around the country wanting to take part in the project was overwhelming and the introduction of RedUSe saw 95% of participant facilities recording a reduction in the use of sedating medication.”
Former Australian Prime Minister, the Honourable Julia Gillard AC, presented the award to Dr Westbury.
The findings of the RedUse project were published recently in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA).
The MHS Learning Network is an international learning network that aims to improve mental health services within Australia and New Zealand.
The awards were first presented in 1992 and aim to boost the morale and quality of mental health services by recognising the dedication of those in the industry.
Published on: 05 Sep 2018 12:22pm