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Data Shows Use of Antipsychotic Drugs Continues to Decline in Nursing Homes

October 21, 2015

New data (pdf) from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicates that the use of antipsychotic drugs to treat dementia continues to decline in U.S. nursing homes.

In the second quarter of 2015, only 18 percent of long-stay nursing home residents were administered antipsychotic drugs to treat their dementia, CMS reports. The data was gathered through CMS’s National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes initiative.

That represents a significant decline from the first quarter of 2012, when 23.8 residents were administered antipsychotic drugs, the report shows.

CMS launched the National Partnership initiative in May 2012, with a stated goal of promoting “person-centered, comprehensive and interdisciplinary” care that would protect nursing homes residents from “being prescribed antipsychotic medications unless there is a valid, clinical indication and a systematic process to evaluate each individual’s need.”

The rate at which antipsychotic drugs are administered to nursing home residents has declined in each quarter since CMS launched its National Partnership initiative.

Over the same span, 49 states have also seen their antipsychotic drug use decrease. The exception, Alaska, has one of the 10 lowest rates of antipsychotic drug use in the country, at just 14.85 percent.

Hawaii had the lowest such rate in the first quarter of 2015, at 8.09 percent, while Texas led the country in antipsychotic drug use (22.48 percent).

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