Decrease in antipsychotic drugs for
dementia patients in nursing homes hailed by CMS
Nursing homes moving toward more
patient-center treatment as urged by CMS initiative
Aug. 28, 2013 – The Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) cheered new data showing that nursing
homes are moving away from the use of antipsychotic drugs for the
treatment of patients with dementia and other behavioral health
problems. Instead, they are pursuing more patient-centered treatment.
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 released on Nursing Home Compare in July 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,
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