Forty-year-old Rajesh Prasher is just one person who has benefitted from the national STOMP/STAMP programme which Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust has pledged their support to.
STOMP, which stands for stopping over medication of people with a learning disability, autism, or both, is about helping people to stay well and have a good quality of life.
Rajesh, from Bradford, was diagnosed with a delay in all areas apart from his Gross Motor Development, at a young age. This led to struggles throughout his life including obsessional and aggressive behaviour and seizures, which he was eventually prescribed medication for.
Medicines for this sort of thing can cause problems if people take them for too long and can cause side effects like; putting on weight, feeling tired or ‘drugged up’ and problems with physical health, which is where STOMP comes in.
Tracey Duggan, Service Manager, at 1 Bedes Close Care Home, where Rajesh is a resident, said “Along with Dr Lawson, Rajesh’s consultant, we started to consider STOMP and look to reduce the medication Rajesh was taking. Rajesh was fully on board with this process and using his iPad with Dr Lawson he was able to explain what he took his medication for and that he wanted to reduce what he was taking.
This reduction was introduced over a period of time and regularly reviewed, we frequently shared information to monitor the process.”
Through the help of the staff in the Learning Disability team at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust and 1 Bede’s Close in Bradford, Rajesh’s medication has now successfully been reduced and he reports feeling a lot better.
Rajesh is non-verbal and uses his iPad to communicate, about coming off his medication he said: “I feel better without them now but it was hard to come off them.” He explains that when on the medication he felt “sick, unwell and frustrated.”
Psychotropic medicines affect how the brain works and include medicines for psychosis, depression, anxiety, sleep problems and epilepsy. Sometimes they are also given to people because their behaviour is seen as challenging.
People with a learning disability, autism or both are more likely to be given these medicines than other people.
These medicines are right for some people. They can help people stay safe and well. Sometimes there are other ways of helping people so they need less medicine or none at all.
Victoria Donnelly, Strategic Health Facilitator and Clinical Specialist Lead Learning for Disabilities, said: “As an organisation we have worked to the STOMP/STAMP principles for some time but wanted to make our official pledge to support our service users and their families.
The process means we do a self-assessment to see where we are at now and then submit an action plan to say how we will improve in these areas. This can be in things such as staff training to do with STOMP or making sure we work in partnership with other organisations.”
Public Health England says that every day about 30,000 to 35,000 adults with a learning disability are taking psychotropic medicines, when they do not have the health conditions the medicines are for.