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CMS data show antipsychotic drug use down in nursing homes

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Nursing homes are using fewer antipsychotics and instead pursuing more patient-centered treatment for dementia and other behavioral healthcare, according to new data released in July by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

In 2010, more than 17% of nursing home patients had daily doses of antipsychotic medications exceeding recommended levels, according to CMS data. This was one factor leading CMS to launch the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in 2012, with a goal of reducing antipsychotic drug use by 15% by the end of 2013.

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

By the first quarter of 2013, the national prevalence of antipsychotic use in long-stay nursing home residents had been reduced by 9.1% compared with the last quarter of 2011, according to new CMS data posted on the Nursing Home Compare website. Approximately 30,000 fewer nursing home residents are taking these medications than if prevalence had remained at levels seen before the partnership was launched.

Eleven states have met or exceeded a 15% target, and others quickly are 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, according to the data.

The partnership’s goal is to reduce inappropriate use of antipsychotics by enhancing training for nursing home providers and state surveyors, increasing transparency by posting antipsychotic-use data online at the Nursing Home Compare site and highlighting alternative strategies to improve dementia care.

Information on the partnership: www.nhqualitycampaign.org/star_index.aspx?controls=MedicationsExploreGoal.

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