Aisling McEvoy
Aisling McEvoy
Aisling McEvoy

Aisling McEvoy

‘Don’t lose sleep over your medications: Investigating the safe and effective reduction of harmful sedative medications in people living with dementia ‘

Monash University, Vic
Awarded 2023
Co-funded by the Bartolina Peluso/Rotary Club of Strathmore and Rotary Club  of Camden

“Most health professionals are aware that sedating medications can be harmful, however, access to evidence-based non-drug insomnia treatments is often limited. This research will provide high-quality evidence to assist with this dilemma.”

General Health PhD Scholarship

Researcher Profile

I am a pharmacist who is eager to improve the safe use of medication through high-quality research that creates evidence, and translating said evidence to drive practice change. As a clinical pharmacist in one of Melbourne’s largest tertiary hospitals, I have first-hand, practical experience in helping patients improve their medication use. Making a positive impact on someone’s health is the most rewarding part of my career. I am excited to translate this passion to helping prevent medication related harm by reducing sedative medications in people living with dementia.

After completing my Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2020, I completed a Master of Pharmacy while working as a clinical pharmacist at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. During my studies and work, I had the opportunity to travel to University College London and research in areas including pharmacy education and psychiatry. While I love working with patients, my passion to improve how we use medications has led me to begin my PhD. I have also had the privilege of teaching future pharmacists at Monash University. Through my clinical, teaching and research experiences, I have been fortunate to gain an understanding of how
essential research is, and how it can improve public health.

Project Summary

This project aims to reduce the use of potentially harmful sedating medications in people living with dementia while ensuring they still getting a good night’s sleep. People living with dementia are often prescribed sedating medications to help them sleep. While this may help them for the first few nights, when used long term, sedating medications become less effective and can lead to harmful consequences, including falls, dependence, and confusion.

Deprescribing is the act of reducing or discontinuing a medicine with the help of a health professional. Deprescribing sedating medications can improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. Unfortunately, enabling safe and effective deprescribing can be difficult, however, providing an alternate treatment can help. Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBTi) involves using education and behavioural interventions to help treat insomnia without medicines. CBTi is the preferred insomnia treatment yet it is often underused. This project will develop and test an intervention involving CBTi to support people living with
dementia reduce sedating medicines and reduce medication harms.

This will include the following:
– Assembling a panel of experts to guide the use of CBTi for people living with dementia;
– Co-designing an intervention with people living with dementia, carers, and clinicians;
– Testing the intervention in clinical practice settings in Australia.

By partnering with experts and people with lived experience, we will ensure the intervention can be applied in practice. This will lead to reduced medicine related harm while ensuring that people living with dementia can still get a good sleep

Supervisors: Dr Justin Turner and Dr Emily Reeve.

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