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General practitioners' perspectives on discontinuation of long-term antidepressants in nursing homes

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Abstract
Background Long-term use of antidepressant drugs (AD), much longer than recommended by guidelines, in nursing homes (NH) is common. NH home residents may have a relatively higher risk of adverse events. Moreover, in an NH setting nursing staff and relatives are intensively involved in the decision-making process. In many countries, General Practitioners' (GPs) provide care for residents in NHs. Little is known about GPs' perspectives on discontinuation of long-term AD in NH residents. Objectives To explore GPs' views of discontinuing long-term AD in NH residents. Methods An exploratory qualitative study, with semi-structured interviews, was conducted with a purposive sample of 20 Belgian GPs. Interviews, conducted over six months in 2019, were analysed by thematic analysis. Results Twenty interviews were conducted until data saturation. The first theme, 'reluctance to rock the boat: not worth taking the risk', describes that GPs perceive discontinuation as an unpredictable risk without clear benefits. GPs' main concern was the risk of destabilising the fragile balance in an older patient. Second, 'it takes at least three to tango', captures the unspoken alliance between GPs, nursing staff and relatives and suggests that agreement of at least these three partners is required. The third, 'Opening the door: triggers to discontinue', points to severe health problems and dementia as strong facilitators for discontinuation. Conclusion Discontinuation of long-term AD in NHs is a complex process for GPs. More evidence and attention to the role nursing staff and relatives play are needed to better guide the discontinuation of AD in older NH patients.
Keywords
OLDER-ADULTS, DRUGS, RESIDENTS, GPS, Discontinuation, deprescribing, long-term antidepressant use, nursing, homes, general practice, qualitative research, depression

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MLA
Van Leeuwen, Ellen, et al. “General Practitioners’ Perspectives on Discontinuation of Long-Term Antidepressants in Nursing Homes.” EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF GENERAL PRACTICE, vol. 28, no. 1, 2022, pp. 23–31, doi:10.1080/13814788.2022.2038131.
APA
Van Leeuwen, E., Anthierens, S., van Driel, M., De Sutter, A., van den Branden, E., & Christiaens, T. (2022). General practitioners’ perspectives on discontinuation of long-term antidepressants in nursing homes. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF GENERAL PRACTICE, 28(1), 23–31. https://doi.org/10.1080/13814788.2022.2038131
Chicago author-date
Van Leeuwen, Ellen, Sibyl Anthierens, Marie van Driel, An De Sutter, Evelien van den Branden, and Thierry Christiaens. 2022. “General Practitioners’ Perspectives on Discontinuation of Long-Term Antidepressants in Nursing Homes.” EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF GENERAL PRACTICE 28 (1): 23–31. https://doi.org/10.1080/13814788.2022.2038131.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Van Leeuwen, Ellen, Sibyl Anthierens, Marie van Driel, An De Sutter, Evelien van den Branden, and Thierry Christiaens. 2022. “General Practitioners’ Perspectives on Discontinuation of Long-Term Antidepressants in Nursing Homes.” EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF GENERAL PRACTICE 28 (1): 23–31. doi:10.1080/13814788.2022.2038131.
Vancouver
1.
Van Leeuwen E, Anthierens S, van Driel M, De Sutter A, van den Branden E, Christiaens T. General practitioners’ perspectives on discontinuation of long-term antidepressants in nursing homes. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF GENERAL PRACTICE. 2022;28(1):23–31.
IEEE
[1]
E. Van Leeuwen, S. Anthierens, M. van Driel, A. De Sutter, E. van den Branden, and T. Christiaens, “General practitioners’ perspectives on discontinuation of long-term antidepressants in nursing homes,” EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF GENERAL PRACTICE, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 23–31, 2022.
@article{8750602,
  abstract     = {{Background Long-term use of antidepressant drugs (AD), much longer than recommended by guidelines, in nursing homes (NH) is common. NH home residents may have a relatively higher risk of adverse events. Moreover, in an NH setting nursing staff and relatives are intensively involved in the decision-making process. In many countries, General Practitioners' (GPs) provide care for residents in NHs. Little is known about GPs' perspectives on discontinuation of long-term AD in NH residents. Objectives To explore GPs' views of discontinuing long-term AD in NH residents. Methods An exploratory qualitative study, with semi-structured interviews, was conducted with a purposive sample of 20 Belgian GPs. Interviews, conducted over six months in 2019, were analysed by thematic analysis. Results Twenty interviews were conducted until data saturation. The first theme, 'reluctance to rock the boat: not worth taking the risk', describes that GPs perceive discontinuation as an unpredictable risk without clear benefits. GPs' main concern was the risk of destabilising the fragile balance in an older patient. Second, 'it takes at least three to tango', captures the unspoken alliance between GPs, nursing staff and relatives and suggests that agreement of at least these three partners is required. The third, 'Opening the door: triggers to discontinue', points to severe health problems and dementia as strong facilitators for discontinuation. Conclusion Discontinuation of long-term AD in NHs is a complex process for GPs. More evidence and attention to the role nursing staff and relatives play are needed to better guide the discontinuation of AD in older NH patients.}},
  author       = {{Van Leeuwen, Ellen and Anthierens, Sibyl and van Driel, Marie and De Sutter, An and van den Branden, Evelien and Christiaens, Thierry}},
  issn         = {{1381-4788}},
  journal      = {{EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF GENERAL PRACTICE}},
  keywords     = {{OLDER-ADULTS,DRUGS,RESIDENTS,GPS,Discontinuation,deprescribing,long-term antidepressant use,nursing,homes,general practice,qualitative research,depression}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{1}},
  pages        = {{23--31}},
  title        = {{General practitioners' perspectives on discontinuation of long-term antidepressants in nursing homes}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13814788.2022.2038131}},
  volume       = {{28}},
  year         = {{2022}},
}

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