Health professionals’ experience of nursing home residents‘ consumption of alcohol and use of psychotropic drugs
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionNordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2020, 1-14. 10.1177/1455072520961890
Background:Nursing home (NH) residents are in most cases in older ages and use prescriptiondrugs. As alcohol interacts with many commonly prescribed drugs, NH residents may be morevulnerable to the effects of alcohol.Aim:To investigate the experiences of health professionals inNorwegian NHs when it comes to residents’ alcohol consumption and use of psychotropic drugs,and the facilitation of such use in the NH.Method:Focus-groups and individual interviews withNH health professionals were performed in 2017 and 2018. The data were analysed using contentanalysis.Findings:Two main themes emerged: (1) the balancing of alcohol consumption, and (2)the use of psychotropic drugs. Each of these themes involved reasoning, which revealed that theinformants in general had little attention regarding alcohol consumption among residents, and fewinstitutions had policies regarding serving and consumption of alcohol. The informants reported anincreased attention regarding use of psychotropic drugs and a tendency towards less use ofpsychotropic drugs among the residents than before, but few informants reported use of stan-dardised observations tools of symptoms related to prescribing and discontinuation of drugs.Conclusion:Alcohol policies or procedures related to alcohol consumption were uncommon atthe NH that the interviewees of this study represented, and the professionals regarded infrequentserving and consumption of alcohol among the residents as a part of everyday life. In cases whenresidents frequently consumed alcohol, the professionals used dialogue to underpin the adherentrisks and they also tried to control the consumption of the resident in different ways. Theinterviewees were aware of various side-effects of psychotropic drugs; they were also aware oftheir effects in combination with alcohol.