Original Study| Volume 21, ISSUE 2, P212-219, February 2020

Optimizing Practices, Use, Care and Services–Antipsychotics (OPUS-AP) in Long-term Care Centers in Québec, Canada: A Strategy for Best Practices

Published:October 25, 2019DOI:



      Antipsychotic medications are often used for the first-line management of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) contrary to guideline recommendations. The Optimizing Practices, Use, Care and Services–Antipsychotics (OPUS-AP) strategy aims to improve the well-being of long-term care (LTC) residents with major neurocognitive disorder (MNCD) by implementing a resident-centered approach, nonpharmacologic interventions, and antipsychotic deprescribing in inappropriate indications.


      Prospective, closed cohort supplemented by a developmental evaluation.

      Setting and Participants

      Residents of designated wards in 24 LTC centers in Québec, Canada.


      Provincial guidelines were disseminated, followed by the implementation of an integrated knowledge translation and mobilization strategy, including training, coaching, clinical tools, evaluation of clinical practices, and a change management strategy. Antipsychotic, benzodiazepine, and antidepressant prescriptions; BPSD; and falls were evaluated every 3 months, for 9 months, from January to October 2018. Semistructured interviews (n = 20) were conducted with LTC teams to evaluate the implementation of OPUS-AP.


      Of 1054 residents, 78.3% had an MNCD diagnosis and 51.7% an antipsychotic prescription. The cohort included 464 residents with both MNCD and antipsychotic prescription. Antipsychotic deprescribing (cessation or dose decrease) was attempted in 220 of the 344 residents still admitted at 9 months. Complete cessation was observed in 116 of these residents (52.7%) and dose reduction in 72 (32.7%), for a total of 188 residents (85.5%; 95% confidence interval: 80.1%, 89.8%). A decrease in benzodiazepine prescriptions and improvements in Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory scores were observed among residents who had their antipsychotics deprescribed. Caregivers and clinicians expressed satisfaction as a result of observing an improved quality of life among residents.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Antipsychotic deprescribing was successful in a vast majority of LTC residents with MNCD without worsening of BPSD. Based on this success, phase 2 of OPUS-AP is now under way in 129 LTC centers in Québec.


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