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Reducing psychotropic medications in elderly rehabilitation inpatients with a fall-related admission: How often is it happening?


Dr Richard M Clements MB BS FAFRM (RACP), Casey Hospital, 52 Kangan Drive, Berwick, Vic., Australia. Email:


Aim:  To assess the frequency of psychotropic medication withdrawal in an inpatient geriatric rehabilitation population with a fall-related admission diagnosis.

Methods:  A retrospective medical record audit. The medical records department randomly selected 100 patients admitted between October 2006 and April 2007 to the geriatric rehabilitation ward of Casey Hospital with a fall-related admission diagnosis.

Results:  The population was predominantly female (71%) and elderly (average age, 80 years) with the vast majority of patients living at home (88%) prior to admission. Twenty-six of 49 (53%) of patients admitted on psychotropic medication were on a reduced regime by discharge (reduced dose or number of psychotropic medications). Just 7 of 100 patients had an increased psychotropic medication regime by discharge. Benzodiazepines were far more likely to be reduced (20/24, 83%) than other psychotropic medications.

Conclusion:  This audit does suggest an acceptable awareness in this geriatric rehabilitation setting of the fall risk posed by psychotropic medication. It needs to be further explored why benzodiazepines are so much more likely to be reduced in this population than other psychotropic medications, despite those other types also posing a significant fall risk.

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