Objectives: To develop indicators of safe psychotropic prescribing practices for people with dementia and to test them in a convenience sample of six aged mental health services in Victoria, Australia. Method: The clinical records of 115 acute inpatients were checked by four trained auditors against indicators derived from three Australian health care quality and safety standards or guidelines. Indicators addressed psychotropic medication history taking; the prescribing of regular and ‘as needed’ psychotropics; the documentation of psychotropic adverse reactions, and discharge medication plans. Results: The most problematic areas concerned the gathering of information about patients’ psychotropic prescribing histories at the point of entry to the ward and, later, the handing over on discharge of information concerning newly prescribed treatments and the reasons for ceasing medications, including adverse reactions. There were wide variations between services. Conclusion: The indicators, while drawn from current Australian guidelines, were entirely consistent with current prescribing frameworks and provide useful measures of prescribing practice for use in benchmarking and other quality improvement activities.
- quality indicators