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Let's talk about STOMP

walking on the beachSTOMP is a health campaign to stop the overmedication of people with learning disabilities and/or autism, and improve quality of life. In May 2018, Brandon Trust signed the STOMP pledge for social care to say we are committed to this campaign.

People with learning disabilities and/or autism can be given psychotropic medication - medication that can affect how people think, feel, or behave - to 'manage' their behaviour. For some people, this is a helpful option. However, some people are taking this medication when they don't need to. The problem with this is that the medication can have serious side-effects. Also, giving medication does not help us to understand why the person is doing the behaviour in the first place, or how we can better support that person.

To get us started, Brandon team leaders completed a survey about people we support being prescribed psychotropic medication. The survey told us that people we support are being given this medication to 'manage' their behaviour. Also, that they often take this medication for longer than 6 months. There are many multi-disciplinary reviews happening for people we support. However, they do not often lead to a reduction in, or the stopping of psychotropic medication. Not many people are on medication reduction programmes, or have had a reduction in their medication in the last 12 months.

medication reviewThe results suggest there may be people we support who could be taking less psychotropic medication. Therefore, it's very important that our staff are aware of the STOMP campaign. Also, that they feel empowered to talk to medical professionals about the medication someone they support is taking.

To support and empower staff, we're developing a training programme for Brandon teams. We've called it 'Let’s talk about STOMP', and it will focus on what STOMP is, the problems that can be caused by overmedication, and what we can do to help. Each team will then be able to work with the person they support, and their families, to come up with a STOMP action plan.

In the meantime, if reading this has raised any questions about the medication you take, or that of someone you support, you could start by talking to your/their GP or health professional.