Psychotropic drug use in residents with dementia living in small-scaled special care facilities: a longitudinal study

Jeroen S. Kok*, Richard C. Oude Voshaar, Erik J.A. Scherder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Over the past decade, a trend has been noticed in the Netherlands to replace large-scaled special care units (SCUs) caring for 20–30 residents with dementia by small-scaled SCUs caring for up to 8 residents. Systematic evaluations, however, have yielded a differentiated picture of the effects. As the impact on psychotropic drug use has hardly been addressed thus far, we examined the (potential) impact of psychotropic drug use when moving residents with dementia from large-scaled to small-scaled SCUs. Methods: We conducted a non-randomized, controlled study with a six-month follow-up. Among 145 residents with dementia living a large-scaled SCUs for dementia caring for 20–30 residents per unit, a total of 77 residents were moved to small-scaled SCUs caring for up to 8 residents per unit. Psychotropic drug use, classified according to the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification (ATC) system was monitored at 2 months before replacement, as well as at 3 and 6 months thereafter. Repeated measures ANOVAs were conducted for the mean Defined Daily Doses (DDDs) of both groups. Results: No significant differences between both groups in psychotropic medication use were found over a period of 8 months. Conclusion: Prescription of psychotropic drugs does not change after a transfer from a large-scaled SCU to a small-scaled SCU of patients with moderate to severe dementia. Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN11151241.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-696
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number4
Early online date5 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020


  • Dementia
  • medication elderly
  • nursing home
  • psychotropic drugs


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