Care Management Group (CMG), a leading provider of residential care, supported living services and domiciliary care for people with learning disabilities, has launched a STOMP Best Practice Guide, which gives comprehensive guidance on ways to reduce the over-medication of people with learning disabilities, and/or autism through non-drug alternative methods of treatment.
STOMP (Stopping the over-medication of people with learning disabilities and autism) is a national NHS England campaign which was launched last year due to the high numbers of people with learning disabilities, autism and challenging behaviours being over prescribed anti-psychotic medication as a form of ‘chemical restraint’ for their challenging behaviours and the devastating consequences this can have.
This influential event, which was organised by CMG and hosted by Norman Lamb MP, took place at Church House, Westminster, and was attended by over 120 clinical experts and industry professionals. Norman spoke about the fact that over medication of people with learning disabilities was a breach of their human rights. Speeches were given by NHS England representatives Anne Webster, Clinical Lead for the Learning Disability Programme; Dr David Branford, Pharmacists Adviser to the NHS England STOMP programme; and Carl Shaw, Learning Disability Adviser. Together, they highlighted the importance of co-production and involving experts by experience.
Relatives of Alderwood’s* service users, who featured in the ground-breaking Channel 4 Dispatches documentary ‘Under Lock and Key’, gave emotive accounts of the devastating impact that over-medication had had on their loved ones who had been locked up in Assessment and Treatment Units (ATU’s) after being sectioned under the MHA. They also spoke of the amazing autism specific, person centred, low arousal care they are now receiving at Alderwood and how this has changed their lives completely. As one relative said, ‘the difference is like night and day’. Their loved ones are now enjoying life to the full and one individual had even got himself a voluntary job.
Stuart Polman, who is a Registered Manager at one of CMGs 120 services, also gave a presentation, providing a first-hand account of how the service and the change in non-drug methods has transformed a service-user’s life.
Other families, who still had children in ATU’s, spoke distressingly about the awful side effects that the over medication and sedation was continuing to have on their loved ones and the complete lack of Autism specific care that was available for these vulnerable children and adults. One family member commented that that their loved one was put on Risperidone, and as a result, “his weight more than doubled, from 13 stone to 29 stone in six years. His liver was failing. There was no difference in the severity of his meltdowns pre, during or post medication”. Another relative said “my son could hardly stand. The nurse in charge told me that if she gave him the next dose of medication, he would be in danger of going into respiratory distress”.
CMG’s STOMP Best Practice Guide examines the success of non-drug methods of treatment and the need for autism specific care, as a way of managing challenging behaviour, rather than the reliance on the use of psychotropic medication. The Guide is based on real examples of people it has supported in CMG and Alderwood*. CMG Group is the only major learning disability provider in England to have achieved five CQC ‘Outstanding’ ratings. CMG now has over 95% of its services rated as Good or Outstanding.
Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk and host of the event, said:
“It was a privilege to host this event. It was so good that those attending could listen to the powerful testimonies of people who have suffered from over-medication. In a twenty-first century health service, it’s astonishing that people with learning disabilities, autism and challenging behaviour still suffer frequent abuse of their rights, particularly those who are stuck in institutions.
“The STOMP best practice guide from CMG will provide a valuable resource in helping to end the inappropriate use of medication, and ensure that people receive the non-drug treatments and support they need to flourish in their communities.”
Peter Kinsey, Chief Executive of Care Management Group said:
“The launch of the STOMP Best Practice Guide has been hugely significant in further driving our commitment to stopping the unnecessary over-medication of people with learning disabilities and/or autism.
“We are honoured that the relatives of loved ones, who have experienced or are still experiencing the detrimental impact of over medication, came together to share their powerful stories and experiences with us, to help us make a difference.
“We are very grateful to Norman Lamb for hosting the event, to NHS England for their contribution and to the many that attended in support of this campaign. It was a demonstration of the need, necessity and the desire across the sector to stop the harmful over-medication of people.”