Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine
Recommendations from the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine on benzodiazepines, drug regimen reviews, physical restraints, dementia & bacteruria. ANZSGM is the professional society for geriatricians and other medical practitioners with an interest in medical care of older people. The society acts to represent the needs of its members and the wider community in a bid to constantly review and improve the care of the older people in Australia and New Zealand. Its major functions are around education, policy development and review, and political advocacy.
Do not use physical restraints to manage behavioural symptoms of hospitalized older adults with delirium except as a last resort.
There is little evidence to support the effectiveness of physical restraints to manage people with delirium who exhibit behaviours that risk injury. Physical restraints can lead to serious injury or death and may worsen agitation and delirium. Restraints should therefore be used as a last resort and should be discontinued at the earliest possible time, particularly given that effective non-pharmacological alternatives are available.
- Flaherty JH, Little MO. Matching the environment to patients with delirium: lessons learned from the delirium room, a restraint-free environment for older hospitalized adults with delirium. Journal of the American Geriatric Soc 2011;59(S2):S295-300.
- Lach HW, Leach KM, Butcher HK. Evidence-based practice guideline: changing the practice of physical restraint use in acute care. Journal of Gerontological Nursing 2016;42(2):17-26.
- Mott S, Poole J, Kenrick M. Physical and chemical restraints in acute care: their potential impact on the rehabilitation of older people. Int J Nurs Pract 2005;11(3):95-101.
Members of the Australian & New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine completed an online survey asking them to choose the 5 most relevant ‘low value’ practices from a list of 11. Respondents were also asked to nominate any additional practices which they regarded as overused, inappropriate or of limited effectiveness in the specialty of geriatric medicine. A total of 196 responses were received.
The list of items were then subject to consideration by the Federal Council. Specifically, members of Federal Council were asked to rate each of these 16 items in terms of their strength in meeting 7 criteria: Is there a reasonable evidence base upon which to drive change? Are older people likely to benefit from work we might do to change practice? Is the problem sizeable? Are there opportunities and a willingness within geriatric medicine to lead practice change? Are there opportunities to collaborate with other organisations with a shared interest in the area? Will this promote a positive profile for ANZSGM? Is this an area of potential conflict with other Societies?
Based on the ratings they assigned to these items the ‘Top 5’ list items were chosen and reformulated as recommendations for clinicians.
- 1 Do not use antipsychotics as the first choice to treat behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
- 2 Do not prescribe benzodiazepines or other sedative-hypnotics to older adults as first choice for insomnia, agitation or delirium.
- 3 Do not use antimicrobials to treat bacteriuria in older adults where specific urinary tract symptoms are not present.
- 4 Do not prescribe medication without conducting a drug regimen review.
- 5 Do not use physical restraints to manage behavioural symptoms of hospitalized older adults with delirium except as a last resort.