PUSHING PILLS: Is there an overprescription problem in our nursing homes?
20 Backers raised €500 of €3770

The inappropriate prescribing of drugs to residents of nursing homes is a global problem and Ireland is no different.

The issue has been known on our island for at least a decade now, with a landmark 2011 report finding that seven out of 10 residents were being prescribed drugs that they didn’t need.

The overprescription of psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and mood stabilisers are a key problem. A follow-up 2013 report found a high proportion of patients were prescribed at least one potentially inappropriate medicine.

Despite the introduction of State guidelines for appropriate prescribing, the problem has continued. A study in 2016, for example, found that Ireland has some of the highest nursing homes prescription rates for antipsychotic and antidepressant in all of Europe.

Various studies by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre between 2010 and 2020 also found our nursing home residents are prescribed far more antibiotics than their European counterparts.


We will use Freedom of Information to investigate where concerns have been raised over the amount of drugs that residents of nursing homes receive and find out what the State is doing to crack down on the problem.

We will also speak to nursing home residents and their families, healthcare professionals as well as advocacy groups about the impact that overprescription is having on the wellbeing and health of those in nursing homes.

If you want to make a contribution to help this investigation happen, click the 'Fund This Proposal' button. Noteworthy investigations are sourced from and crowdfunded by the public.

You can contact us at [email protected] and find out how we work here.

20 Backers raised €500 of €3770
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