Psych med use in nursing homes down

Alzheimer disease projected to affect 13.8 million in U.S. in 2050
Alzheimer disease projected to affect 13.8 million in U.S. in 2050

HealthDay News -- The national prevalence of antipsychotic medication use among nursing home residents is declining, according to a report published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Following the agency's launch of the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in the first quarter of 2011, use among long-stay home residents fell 9.1% in the first quarter of 2013. This translates to about 30,000 fewer residents receiving such drugs.

CMS introduced the program due to concerns about inappropriate antipsychotic use in this population -- in 2010 more than 17% of nursing home patients had daily doses of antipsychotics exceeding recommended levels. The Partnership's goal is to decrease antipsychotic use 15% by the end of 2013.

Thus far 11 states have met or exceeded this reduction and "others are quickly approaching that goal," the agency said in a press release. These states include Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont. 

Methods to reduce inappropriate use include enhanced training for nursing home providers and state surveyors, increased transparency via online access to antipsychotic use data and introducing alternative nondrug strategies for dementia care.

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

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