When I read reporter Gillian Slade’s Medicine Hat News article on Teepa Snow’s perspective on antipsychotics, the quotes jumped out at me. It was the first time I’d “heard” Teepa speak out so clearly about how antipsychotic medications often make things worse rather than better for people who live with dementia.
I thought it would be worthwhile to highlight and share the quotes:
1 ) “Anti-anxiety drugs can actually cause people to put chairs through windows, put their fist right through a window, have cuts all over their hands and they would keep going. They have to get out of there…they’re going to die anyway so they may as well do whatever they have to.”
2 ) “If you just lock doors or tie me down, what that shows is you’re committed to enforcing this ‘concentration camp’ and I fight the restraints as long and as hard as I can.”
3 ) “It’s called ‘you go with their flow’ because you can’t fix their delusion.”
4 ) “You can’t be so focused on getting tasks done that you forget that you’re doing those tasks to a human being.”
5 ) “The problem is they [antipsychotics]are used as blankets. You throw this heavy blanket over somebody…it limits attention, focus, motor ability and sensory awareness.”
6 ) “We aren’t allowed to do this [physically or chemically restrain]with any other population but we feel free to do it with dementia. You can’t do it in prisons, you can’t arbitrarily restrain somebody over a long period of time.”
Teepa and I are of one mind on this: the more positive approaches to care are learned and practiced, the less care workers and care partners will feel challenged by the behavioural expressions of PLWD, the less drugs PLWD will be given.
When PLWD are given fewer antipsychotic medications, they will be less likely to fall and to become agitated. They will also be better equipped to continue to engage life as fully as possible until the end.
I invite you to flesh out the bones of these quotes by reading Gillian Slade’s excellent interview-based article on the Medicine Hat News here.