US nursing homes reducing use of antipsychotic drugs

U.S. nursing homes reducing use of antipsychotic drugs
Program tackling over-prescription to dementia patients is working, government data suggest.

(HealthDay)—A year-old nationwide effort to prevent the unnecessary use of antipsychotic medications in U.S. nursing homes already seems to be working, public health officials report, as facilities begin to opt for patient-centered approaches over drugs to treat dementia and other related complications.

So far, the program has seen more than a 9 percent drop in the national use of antipsychotics among long-term nursing-, when comparing the period of January to March 2013 with October to December 2011.

The National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care was launched in 2012 by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). At issue: the broad over-prescription of antipsychotics among the nation's roughly 1.5 million nursing-home residents.

"This important partnership to improve in is yielding results," Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS chief medical officer and director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, said in an agency news release.

"We will continue to work with clinicians, caregivers and communities to improve care and eliminate harm for people living with ," Conway added.

As recently as 2010, more than 17 percent of nursing-home patients were being given daily doses of antipsychotic medications that were above recommended levels, according to the news release.

With that in mind, the campaign set out to provide enhanced dementia care training for nursing-home staff and statewide nursing-home assessors, by outlining alternative treatment options and making relevant antipsychotic medication information more easily accessible online on its Nursing Home Compare website.

The information provided is a collection of best-practices information gathered from a coalition of medical and quality-improvement experts, government agencies, consumer and patient advocates, and long-term-care providers.

The campaign's goal is to lower antipsychotic drug use by 15 percent by the end of this year.

To date, 11 states have realized—or even exceeded—this objective: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.

As a result, an estimated 30,000 fewer nursing-home patients are on today than would have been prior to the launch of the CMS information program.

More information: For more on the CMS partnership campaign to improve dementia care, visit Advancing Excellence in American Nursing Homes.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Can you train your brain to crave healthy foods?

52 minutes ago

The mere sight of a slice of gooey chocolate cake, a cheesy pizza, or a sizzling burger can drive us to eat these foods. In terms of evolution we show preference for high calorie foods as they are an important ...

What doctors say to LGBT teens matters

2 hours ago

When doctors speak to teens about sex and LGBT issues, only about 3 percent of them are doing so in a way that encourages LGBT teens to discuss their sexuality, and Purdue University researchers say other doctors can learn ...

Even without kids, couples eat frequent family meals

4 hours ago

Couples and other adult family members living without minors in the house are just as likely as adults living with young children or adolescents to eat family meals at home on most days of the week, new research suggests.

User comments