Anticholinergic burden: A toolkit to improve resident outcomes in aged care facilities

Anticholinergic burden: A toolkit to improve resident outcomes in aged care facilities

Older people are more susceptible to anticholinergic burden. They are more likely to be prescribed multiple medicines, some of which may have anticholinergic effects, leading to a cumulative anticholinergic burden. Anticholinergic burden is associated with poor health outcomes, particularly for older people, including an increase in falls-related hospitalisation, the risk of dementia and mortality.

More than half of all residents in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) have at least one fall each year. Injuries from falls are common, with up to a half of these falls causing serious injuries such as fractures. Reducing falls can assist with meeting quality indicators in the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program).

This toolkit is for nursing staff, quality use of medicines (QUM) and accredited pharmacists.

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Implementation guide

This toolkit aims to help RACFs improve health outcomes for residents with identified anticholinergic burden. It focuses on potential approaches to incorporate assessment, review and deprescribing of medicines that contribute to anticholinergic burden into a facility’s workflow.

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Presentation template

A presentation template for nurses and pharmacists to run short education sessions at their facility, such as during staff handovers.

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Educational visit presentation

Presentation slides from the Anticholinergic burden: the unintended consequences for older people educational visiting program for RACFs.

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Other educational resources

Webinar: Reducing the burden of medicines with anticholinergic effects on older people

Webinar: Falls, confusion and other issues. Could medicines with anticholinergic effects be the cause?

These webinars focus on how to enable optimal communication and collaboration, and the role of aged care workers in identifying anticholinergic-related adverse effects.

Online case study: Anticholinergic burden: Reducing the impact on older people

This online case study aims to increase knowledge and capability of using a person-centred approach to assess and review anticholinergic burden, with a focus on optimising multidisciplinary communication and collaboration.

Further information for you and your patients: Falls, confusion... is it my medicine?