Background: There is evidence that psychotropic medications are overprescribed and overused to manage behaviours of concern for people with intellectual disabilities. Disability support workers and support staff lack education and training on the administration and safety of psychotropic medication use. This study aimed to test the applicability and preliminary efficacy of SPECTROM, an education programme developed in the UK, in an Australian context.
Methods: The training comprises two parts: Module 1 encompasses psychotropic medications, their use and side effects. Module 2 focuses on non-pharmacological interventions for supporting people with behaviours of concern. Thirty-three participants attended the training course and completed pre-training and post-training surveys on the Psychotropic Knowledge Questionnaire and Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale-Revised at four time points: pre-training, 2 weeks, 3 months and 5 months post-training.
Results: Psychotropic Knowledge Questionnaire scores showed statistically significant post-training improvement at all post-training time points (P < 0.05). Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale-Revised scores were high at pre-training and did not change significantly at any of the post-training survey time points. A 2-week post-training feedback questionnaire reported 80% agreement that the training programme was appropriate, useful and valid. Only 36% of participants completed questionnaires at all time points.
Conclusions: SPECTROM training increased staff knowledge of psychotropic medications, yet loss of participants was high. Further refinement of the applicability of the training for the Australian context and evaluation of the feasibility of implementation, clinical and cost-effectiveness of the programme are required.
Keywords: carers; challenging behaviour; intellectual disability; intervention evaluation; psychiatric disorders.
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research published by MENCAP and International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.