Strong laws and collaboration needed to reduce inappropriate medication

Release date: 16 Oct 2019

The peak body for non-profit aged care providers Aged and Community Services (ACSA) supports strong laws to prevent inappropriate medication in aged care, but says we also need strong collaboration with doctors, families and older people.

“We support strong laws to stop inappropriate medication. Doctors, aged care providers and Government need to work together on a plan that makes all types of restraint as rare as possible - we are on the same page with this – restraint is the last resort”. ACSA CEO, Patricia Sparrow said.

“In the extreme and confronting cases of severe behaviour the first response should always be psychosocial support and person-centred care. Restraint should only be used as a very last resort, with consent obtained by the prescriber, and only if the harm or potential risk of the restraint is less than the risk of non-restraint. It should only ever be used as a temporary measure and be subject to regular review. 

Medication that provides therapeutic benefits for the older person should continue to be able to be prescribed and administered with relevant consent obtained.

 “We need to build the industry up to better handle the kind of extremely confronting and difficult behaviours that sometimes mean restraint is prescribed – and for doctors and families to partner with them and take responsibility for their role as well.

“No one supports the kind of intervention that takes away someone's freedom or dignity and ACSA will work closely with Human Rights Watch and the government to reduce restraint to the lowest levels possible,” Ms Sparrow said.

Today the Human Rights Watch released its report and views on how chemical restraint is used in the aged care environment. Click to view media release on the Human Rights Watch Fading Away - How Aged Care Facilities in Australia Chemically Restrain Older People with Dementia report.


As the peak body representing church, charitable and community-based organisations providing accommodation and care services to older people, people with a disability and their carers, ACSA can be contacted for comment on issues affecting the industry.

Areas ACSA may provide media commentary on include:  

  • Aged care reforms
  • Residential aged care
  • Home care
  • Independent and retirement living
  • Housing for older Australians
  • Palliative care
  • The aged care workforce in Australia


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