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Medication: it's your choice

Medication can improve your quality of life. It can keep you safe and help you to live longer.

Some medicines can have side effects or not work as well as we’d like them to.

It's your right to get thorough information about your medication. And it's up to you if you want to choose a different treatment.

To learn more, explore Medication – it's your choice on the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN). We developed this information suite with OPAN.

You can browse:

  • brochures
  • booklets
  • videos.

Translations are available.

Antimicrobial stewardship

We're working to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics in aged care. 

Antibiotics are powerful drugs. They can speed up your recovery or save your life if you have a serious infection. But you should only use them when you need to.

When we take antibiotics often, the bacteria in our bodies can become resistant to them. This can lead to antibiotics becoming less effective against some infections.

Antimicrobial stewardship is how we use anitmicrobial drugs to stop resistance building up

Our video on Antimicrobial stewardship explains more.

Video transcript for 'Antimicrobial stewardship'

Antibiotics can also cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea and rashes. Older people have an increased risk of experiencing these side effects.

You should use the right antimicrobial drug at the right dose for the right length of time.

Read our Do you need antibiotics? brochure (available in 25 languages) for information about side effects and risks. You can also talk with your doctor about different treatment options.

Clinical pathways

People in aged care homes are often tested with dipsticks for urinary tract infections (UTI). The test can lead to an inappropriate diagnosis. That can mean the resident receives unnecessary antibiotics.

‘To Dip or Not to Dip’ is a clinical pathway that aims to reduce antibiotic use and hospital admissions. 

It helps staff work out if you have a UTI or if you have harmless bacteria that doesn't need treatment.

More information

Reducing psychotropic medication

We're also taking steps to improve the use of psychotropic medication.

Psychotropics are used for behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). Evidence shows that psychotropics don’t help much with BPSD.

Psychotropics can affect an individual's mind, emotions and behaviour.

They can damage health and quality of life. That's why reducing their use wherever possible is important.

More information

To learn more, read our fact sheet Psychotropic medications used in Australia: information for aged care.

You can also watch our video to learn more about reducing the use of sedatives in aged care.

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