Continuity of GP care vital for reducing use of anti-psychotics in aged care

22 Jul 2021

New research published in the Medical Journal of Australia has found that increases in medicine use and rates of psychotropic dispensing were higher for people with dementia who changed to a new GP when entering residential care.  

The authors suggested that better organisation of GP care handover and the facilitation of continuity of care could prevent potentially inappropriate prescribing of medicines, including psychotropic prescribing for aged care residents. 

The authors highlighted that there are several reasons for why people entering residential care may not see their own GP, including the patient moving to a different geographical area, or other barriers for their regular GP to continue their care once they enter aged care. 

The AMA has provided seven written submissions to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and appeared before it three times, highlighting the need to end the separation between the aged care and health care systems. This evidence articulated the need for General Practitioners (GPs) to be at the heart of health care for older people, providing crucial continuity of care and acting as an independent advocate for high quality, person-centred health care.  

The AMA’s report – putting health care back into aged care – proposes 11 recommendations to improve patient care in aged care facilities. This includes significant improvements to how GPs are remunerated for nursing home attendances, and improved coordination between GPs, nursing home staff and other care providers.