Dr Frances Matthews
Older adults are frequently seen as a collective burden on the healthcare system, rather than the bearers of rights which should be respected and protected. Those in institutions are particularly vulnerable. Their rights to liberty, privacy and the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment may all be threatened by the inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs. This paper describes challenging behaviour in older adults; possible responses to that behaviour, including medication; the nature and use of antipsychotics; the rights threatened by the administration of such drugs; and possible solutions.