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 Latest Quarterly Data Records Progress in Reducing Antipsychotics in Nursing Centers

New quarterly data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released on Dec. 20 showed the continuation of a years-long trend of reduced use of antispsychotics in skilled nursing centers.

All 10 reporting regions across the country recorded either steady or declining use from the first quarter of 2018 to the second quarter, with some individual states like Arkansas and California marking more than 40 percent declines since the first quarterly measurements taken in the final three months of 2011, the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes said.

In the latest quarter measured, the second quarter of 2018, the national percentage of residents in nursing care receiving antipsychotics was 14.6 percent, down from 14.8 percent in the first quarter. While the quarter-on-quarter data revealed a steady but declining trend, the effort to reduce antipsychotics in the nursing care setting has staged a dramatic and positive reduction since 2011, the partnership said.

“In 2011 Q4, 23.9 percent of long-stay nursing home residents were receiving an antipsychotic medication; since then there has been a decrease of 38.9 percent to a national prevalence of 14.6 percent in 2018 Q2,” the group said.

David Gifford, MD, senior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs, American Health Care Association (AHCA), applauded the latest data and pointed to attention to the issue by the nursing care profession as the reason for the better results.

“A concerted national effort to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes, particularly among residents with dementia, has been successful,” he said. “Data released today by CMS show that fewer than one in seven nursing home residents are prescribed an antipsychotic medication. In 2011, one in four nursing home residents were receiving these medications compared to one in seven today.”

Gifford said AHCA “is proud of our members’ efforts to continue to improve quality, person-centered care.”

Echoing that sentiment, the National Partnership said it is on a mission to deliver health care that is person-centered, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary, with a specific focus on protecting residents from being prescribed antipsychotic medications unless there is a valid, clinical indication and a systematic process to evaluate each individual’s need.

For its part, CMS is tracking the progress of the National Partnership by reviewing publicly reported measures. The group said the official measurement is the percentage of long-stay nursing facility residents who are receiving an antipsychotic medication, excluding those residents diagnosed with schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease, or Tourette’s syndrome.

A four-quarter average of this measure is posted to the Nursing Home Compare website at https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/.

 

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