The survey, which polled 650 nurses and 450 nurse managers revealed that the widespread use of these powerful drugs is often just to control ‘difficult’ patients.
In relation to this, research has suggested that drugs double the death risk of many long term dementia patients, which could mean 23,500 people are dying prematurely according to a 2008 report by Paul Burstow MP.
Medical guidelines state that these drugs can be given only when the patient is ether severely agitated or violent, but critics have said they believe they are being over used to sedate patients and make life easier for staff.
Dr Dave Anderson, chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry, said the situation was. “The staff in general hospitals need access to dementia training and advice from a specialist liaison mental health team for older people if we are to eradicate this problem.”