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Nursing Homes Succeed in Cutting Antipsychotics for Dementia

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In an important shift, nursing homes are using significantly fewer antipsychotics for dementia. Instead, they are pursuing more patient-centered treatments. Gain insights into the big improvements they are achieving in patient care.

The new data was released on Nursing Home Compare in July by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Unnecessary antipsychotic drug use is a significant challenge in dementia care. CMS data show that in 2010 more than 17 percent of nursing home patients had daily doses exceeding recommended levels. In response to these trends, CMS launched the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in 2012.

“This important partnership to improve dementia care in nursing homes is yielding results,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS chief medical officer and director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality. “We will continue to work with clinicians, caregivers, and communities to improve care and eliminate harm for people living with dementia.”

The Partnership’s goal is to reduce antipsychotic drug usage by 15 percent by the end of 2013.  These new data show that the Partnership’s work is making a difference:

  • The national prevalence of antipsychotic use in long stay nursing home residents has been reduced by 9.1 percent by the first quarter of 2013, compared to the last quarter of 2011.
  • There are approximately 30,000 fewer nursing home residents on these medications now than if the prevalence had remained at the pre-National Partnership level.
  • At least 11 states have hit or exceeded a 15 percent target and others are quickly approaching that goal. The states that have met or exceeded the target are: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.

The Partnership aims to reduce inappropriate use of antipsychotics in several ways – including enhanced training for nursing home providers and state surveyors; increased transparency by making antipsychotic use data available online at Nursing Home Compare; and highlighting alternate strategies to improve dementia care.

Since its launch in early 2012, the goal of the Partnership has been to improve quality of care and quality of life for the country’s 1.5 million nursing home residents. This broad-based coalition includes long-term care providers, caregivers and advocates, medical and quality improvement experts, government agencies, and consumers.

For more information on the Partnership’s efforts to reduce use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes, please visit the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes website:

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B. Berger

B. Berger

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This site was inspired by my Mom’s autoimmune dementia.

It is a place where we separate out the wheat from the chaffe, the important articles & videos from each week’s river of news. With a new post on Alzheimer’s or dementia appearing on the internet every 7 minutes, the site’s focus on the best information has been a help to many over the past 15 years. Thanks to our many subscribers for your supportive feedback.

The site is dedicated to all those preserving the dignity of the community of people living with dementia.

Peter Berger, Editor


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