Clinical update

Dementia and the prescription of antipsychotics in hospital

Key points for nurses from the National Audit of Dementia by the Royal College of Psychiatrists
Patient notes

Key points for nurses from the National Audit of Dementia by the Royal College of Psychiatrists

Essential information

Dementia describes a range of symptoms that can include memory loss, difficulties with thinking, problem-solving and language, as well as changes in mood and behaviour. It is caused when the brain is damaged, for example by Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes.

Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) such as delusions, hallucinations, agitation and aggressive behavior often arise as dementia progresses. A range of medication, including antipsychotics, can be prescribed. Antipsychotics can be effective but they can also have side effects including severe physical symptoms and they can even worsen some symptoms associated with dementia.

What’s new?

All medications that are newly prescribed for people with dementia in hospital should have reasons for prescribing fully recorded in


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