I visited 15 services last week and was particularly impressed by our 283 Dyke Road service in Hove. I carried out a social inclusion audit there and they scored top marks. Eight young people live at 283 and seven of them work in either paid or voluntary employment, including being a paid member of a rock band. They are all actively supported to participate in a range of clubs and sporting activities, including boxing and street dance and clubs for non-disabled people. They are also all supported to maintain relationships with their friends and family.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned STOMP before in my blog. It stands for: Stopping Over-Medication of People with Learning Disabilities. A shockingly high proportion of people with learning disabilities are prescribed excessive amounts of psychotropic medication. This is medication prescribed for treating mental illnesses which is often given to people with challenging behaviour to ‘chemically restrain’ them or sedate them . A lot of people who challenge and who are prescribed psychotropic medication do not have any diagnosed form of mental illness.
NHS England has launched new guidance about STOMP, which has been signed up to by the Royal Colleges of Nursing, Psychiatrists and GPs, as well as the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the British Psychological Society. Many learning disability providers are also supporting STOMP including CMG. We have a number of excellent examples in both CMG and Alderwood of people being supported to either come off psychotropic medication entirely or for their dosage to be substantially reduced.
Effective use of positive behaviour support is one of the most important ways of helping people come off medication, as is effective working with GP’s and psychiatrists. CMG is developing a good practice guide which includes information on how to help people come off excessive amounts of medication. We will be launching this guide at the House of Commons on the 13th June thanks to Norman Lamb MP who has kindly agreed to host the event. I would actively encourage everyone in CMG to look at the levels of medication that the people we support are receiving, particularly if it relates to their behaviour. If you would like any advice on how to safely help people reduce the level of medication they are on, please contact Michael Fullerton, our Quality and Clinical Director.