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Int Psychogeriatr. 2016 Oct;28(10):1725-35. doi: 10.1017/S1041610216000715. Epub 2016 May 18.

A qualitative study exploring visible components of organizational culture: what influences the use of psychotropic medicines in nursing homes?

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Faculty of Pharmacy,The University of Sydney,Camperdown,NSW,Australia,N507,Pharmacy and Bank Building (A15),The University of Sydney,NSW 2006,Australia.
Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery,The University of Sydney,Camperdown,NSW,Australia,88 Mallett Street - Building M02,The University of Sydney,NSW 2006,Australia.



The influence of organizational culture on how psychotropic medicines are used in nursing homes has not been extensively studied. Schein's theory provides a framework for examining organizational culture which begins with the exploration of visible components of an organization such as behaviors, structures, and processes. This study aimed to identify key visible components related to the use of psychotropic medicines in nursing homes.


A qualitative study was conducted in eight nursing homes in Sydney, Australia. Purposive sampling was used to conduct semi-structured interviews with 40 participants representing a broad range of health disciplines. Thematic analysis was used to derive concepts.


Three visible components were related to psychotropic medicine use. These were drugs and therapeutics committee meetings, pharmacist led medication management reviews and formal and informal meetings with residents and their families. We found that only a few nursing homes utilized drugs and therapeutics committee meetings to address the overuse of psychotropic medicines. Pharmacist led medication management reviews provided a lever to minimize inappropriate psychotropic prescribing for a number of nursing homes; however, in others it was used as a box-ticking exercise. We also found that some nursing homes used meetings with residents and their families to review the use of psychotropic medicines.


This study was the first to illustrate that visible components of organizational culture do influence the use of psychotropic medicines and explains in detail what of the culture needs to be addressed to reduce inappropriate psychotropic prescribing.


antipsychotics; long-term care; nursing homes; organizational culture; patient safety; psychotropic medications; qualitative

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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