Section A Introduction
Who is involved in making sure psychotropic medication is used well?
- Person with a Learning Disability, Autism or both
- Your relative should be involved from the start of the process and supported to make decisions about medication when they can.
- You should be involved throughout the process to help professionals understand your relative and their needs. If your relative does not have mental capacity to make decisions about medication, you should always be consulted during the decision making process to decide what action is in your relative’s best interests.
- Support staff
- Paid carers also have a vital role in helping people to monitor their medication, ensuring that people have regular medicine reviews and, along with families, are involved in decisions about the medication.
- As the GP may be the doctor who prescribes medication on a regular basis, they should have a clear understanding of why the medication is prescribed and how medication fits into a longer-term plan of proactive support. The GP should make sure that medication is reviewed regularly and support other strategies that are put in place.
- Children may be prescribed medication by their paediatrician. Paediatricians have a responsibility for the health of disabled children up to age 16, so should look at their medication as part of their overall care.
- Often prescriptions for psychotropic medication are started and reviewed by a psychiatrist. They should be available to give further advice on issues such as side effects and whether the medication could be reduced or stopped.
- The pharmacist will give you the medication and are a valuable source of information about medications and their effect on the body. The pharmacist can also take part in the medication review process.
- Nurses often administer prescribed medication and they should work closely with family and/or carers. Nurses have a duty to ensure that people are safe so if it is felt that psychotropic medication isn’t working or is the wrong kind of intervention, they should raise this and discuss it with ‘the prescriber’.
While these are the main people involved, concerns about medication could be raised by anyone who supports your relative. A number of other professionals could also be involved to provide alternative methods of support and understand why challenging behaviour happens. These could include a psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT), Occupational Therapist (OT), social worker and others.
In this resource, we will refer to the health professional who prescribes medication as ‘the prescriber’, as it could be several of those listed above.