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Sedatives, hypnotics used as ‘surrogate’ in nursing homes, AMA warns

Residents in nursing homes are being sedated to make up for poor ratios, the Australian Medical Association warns.

AMA president Dr Michael Gannon tells Ben Fordham it’s a systemic problem in the care of elderly people in Australia.

“These medications are prescribed by medical practitioners, we are all in this together.

“We have called for better nursing ratios, a higher proportion of registered nurses, who have a higher level of training than enrolled nurses and other support staff.

“We want to see a system where it is more attractive for doctors to go and visit residential aged care facilities.

“It’s something fewer doctors are doing.”

He says if a patient is disruptive or agitated, they may require further medical attention rather than more sedatives.

“What we are seeing is these medications are being used a surrogate for the appropriate ratio of nurses to residents and it’s simply not good enough.”

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