Use of hypnotics among patients in geriatric institutions
A survey of hypnotic use in geriatric institutions outside hospitals was performed in the county of Hordaland, Norway. The data were obtained from the cardex system in 67 institutions and represented administration of hypnotics to the patients on 3 separate days within a week. About 24% of 2802 patients in the institutions used hypnotics. The number of patients treated with hypnotics, the doses administrated and the time of administration were similar for weekends and workdays. About 98% of the hypnotics were used as scheduled, and 41% of the doses administrated were higher than the recommended lowest dose for elderly patients. Long-acting benzodiazepines constituted about 62% of the hypnotics. A significantly higher proportion of patients in old age homes used hypnotics compared to patients in nursing homes (30.7% versus 22.9%, respectively, p<0.01). Furthermore, higher doses, administration later in the evening and use of additional hypnotics were more common in old age homes compared to nursing homes. The results indicate a need for frequent reevaluation of prescribing of hypnotics in geriatric institutions.
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