Health professionals’ experience of nursing home residents‘ consumption of alcohol and use of psychotropic drugs
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJohannessen, A., Tevik, K., Engedal, K., & Helvik, A. S. (2020). Health professionals’ experience of nursing home residents’ consumption of alcohol and use of psychotropic drugs. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. https://doi.org/10.1177/1455072520961890
Background: Nursing home (NH) residents are in most cases in older ages and use prescription drugs. As alcohol interacts with many commonly prescribed drugs, NH residents may be more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. Aim: To investigate the experiences of health professionals in Norwegian 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 with NH health professionals were performed in 2017 and 2018. The data were analysed using content analysis. 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 the informants in general had little attention regarding alcohol consumption among residents, and few institutions had policies regarding serving and consumption of alcohol. The informants reported an increased attention regarding use of psychotropic drugs and a tendency towards less use of psychotropic drugs among the residents than before, but few informants reported use of standardised observations tools of symptoms related to prescribing and discontinuation of drugs. Conclusion: Alcohol policies or procedures related to alcohol consumption were uncommon at the NH that the interviewees of this study represented, and the professionals regarded infrequent serving and consumption of alcohol among the residents as a part of everyday life. In cases when residents frequently consumed alcohol, the professionals used dialogue to underpin the adherent risks and they also tried to control the consumption of the resident in different ways. The interviewees were aware of various side-effects of psychotropic drugs; they were also aware of their effects in combination with alcohol.