Use of antipsychotic medication in care homes




The Health, Social Care and Sport Committee undertook a short inquiry on the use of antipsychotic medication in care homes. This was supported by stakeholders responding to the consultation on the Committee’s priorities.


Antipsychotics are a group of medications usually used in the treatment of mental health conditions such as schizophrenia. They are often inappropriately prescribed to control the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. Their use in dementia patients is associated with a significant increased risk of harm. It’s been suggested that around two thirds of prescriptions of antipsychotics for people with dementia are inappropriate.


Reducing the number of people with a dementia diagnosis inappropriately receiving antipsychotic medication, particularly in care homes, was also identified as a key action in the Welsh Government’s draft dementia strategy.


As part of its work on mental health inequalities, the Sixth Senedd Health and Social Care Committee wrote to the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing on 11 July 2022 to seek an update on the Fifth Senedd Committee’s recommendations. The Ministers responded on 31 January 2023. 


Terms of reference:


The Committee looked at the use of antipsychotic medication in care home settings, and the ways in which its inappropriate use could be reduced, including the consideration of:


  • the availability of data on the prescribing of antipsychotics in care homes, to understand prevalence and patterns of use;
  • prescribing practices, including implementation of clinical guidance and medication reviews;  
  • provision of alternative (non-pharmacological) treatment options;
  • training for health and care staff to support the provision of person-centred care for care home residents living with dementia;
  • identifying best practice, and the effectiveness of initiatives introduced so far to reduce inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotics;
  • use of antipsychotic medication for people with dementia in other types of care settings.


Evidence gathering


The Committee was inviting views on this issue. The deadline for responses was 21 April 2017.

Business type: Committee Inquiry

Reason considered: Senedd Business;

Status: Complete

First published: 03/03/2017


Background papers