Dr. Sid Feldman (left) and Julie Weir (right) are Choosing Wisely Canada’s Long-Term Care Co-Leads
Inappropriate medication use in long-term care (LTC) homes has been an ongoing concern that needs to be addressed in Canada.
According to 2022 data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), older adults living in LTC are eight times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than those living in the community. In 2021, the CIHI reported that 1 in 4 seniors were prescribed medication in more than 10 drug classes. Despite efforts to decrease antipsychotic prescribing in LTC, 2022 CIHI data shows that the rate of antipsychotic use has increased in several provinces across the country.
Choosing Wisely Canada recognizes the need for a national program to bring the LTC sector together across Canada, for a united effort focused on appropriate medication. The goal is to equip LTC staff with the latest data, evidence and best practices, as well as provide alternative options for overused medications. As a first step, Choosing Wisely Canada is working with InterRAI and CIHI to review prescribing rates at the home level on antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and explore prescribing of antibiotics as well as diabetes medication.
In June 2023, Choosing Wisely Canada brought Julie Weir, nurse and CEO of the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes, and Dr. Sid Feldman, Executive Medical Director of Residential Programs at Baycrest Health Sciences as clinician co-leads of the program. A newly formed National Long Term Care Steering Committee comprised of medical directors, pharmacy leads, resident family advisors and quality improvement staff meet regularly to drive the development of this new national program.
The program is currently in its initial phase of development and we hope to pilot test it with LTC sites in 2024.
If you’re interested in learning more about the upcoming LTC program, sign up to our mailing list for the latest updates.