Is psychotropic medication use related to organisational and treatment culture in residential care

Kathryn Peri*, Ngaire Kerse, Simon Moyes, Shane Scahill, Charlotte Chen, Jae Beom Hong, Carmel M. Hughes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to establish the relationship between organisational culture and psychotropic medication use in residential care. Design/methodology/approach – Cross-sectional analyses of staff and resident’s record survey in residential aged care facilities in Auckland, New Zealand (NZ). The competing values framework categorised organisational culture as clan, hierarchical, market driven or adhocracy and was completed by all staff. The treatment culture tool categorised facilities as having resident centred or traditional culture and was completed by registered nursing staff and general practitioners (GP). Functional and behavioural characteristics of residents were established by staff report and health characteristics and medications used were ascertained from the health record. Multiple regression was used to test for associations between measures of culture with psychotropic medication use (anxiolytics, sedatives, major tranquillisers). Findings – In total 199 staff, 27 GP and 527 residents participated from 14 facilities. On average 8.5 medications per resident were prescribed and 42 per cent of residents received psychotropic medication. Having a diagnosis of anxiety or depression (odds ratio (OR) 3.18, 95 per cent confidence interval (CI) 1.71, 5.91), followed by persistent wandering (OR 2.53, 95 per cent CI 1.59, 4.01) and being in a dementia unit (OR 2.45, 95 per cent CI 1.17, 5.12) were most strongly associated with psychotropic use. Controlling for resident- and facility-level factors, health care assistants’ assignation of hierarchical organisational culture type was independently associated with psychotropic medication use, (OR 1.29, CI 1.08, 1.53) and a higher treatment culture score from the GP was associated with lower use of psychotropic medication (OR 0.95, CI 0.92, 0.98). Originality/value – Psychotropic medication use remains prevalent in residential care facilities in NZ. Interventions aimed at changing organisational culture towards a less hierarchical and more resident-centred culture may be another avenue to improve prescribing in residential aged care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1065-1079
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Health, Organisation and Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2015


  • Anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Nursing homes
  • Organizational culture
  • Patient-focused care
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Psychotropic medication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy

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