Prescribing non-pharmacological interventions

The power of non-pharmacological interventions to improve wellbeing was illustrated by a project to find out the causes of distressed behaviours and respond accordingly.  Clinical psychologist Joanna Marshall and OT Susannah Thwaites spoke about their project to prescribe music, robotic pets and sensory items instead of anti-psychotic medications.

Marshall and Thwaites are part of the Care Home Liaison Hub, an NHS multidisciplinary team that provides support to 116 care homes across the north-east of England with distressed behaviour referrals.  In their project during 2021, 338 non-pharmacological interventions were prescribed successfully for 171 patients.

“Prescribing non-pharmacological interventions improved quality of life and reduced behaviours that challenge, and the vast majority of residents were maintained in their care home placements,” Marshall said.  “Not everything works for everybody and funding is an issue, but it is clear that mental health teams need to be able to prescribe a range of non-pharmacological interventions as well as medications.”