Reducing Antipsychotic Medication - It's Working
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as of Q1 2016 the use of antipsychotic medication in California was 13 percent compared to the national average of 16.6 percent. California performs better than 41 other states, ranking 9th lowest in the nation in using antipsychotics in skilled nursing facilities.
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A broad category of medications, called psychotropics are administered by physicians in many healthcare and community settings, including hospitals, skilled nursing homes and assisted living centers. The term psychotropic is an all-encompassing description which includes mood stabilizers (anti-manic agents), anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, hypnotics and antipsychotics.
Many CAHF members took part in a national effort to safely reduce the unnecessary use of antipsychotic medication in skilled nursing homes by 15 percent by December, 2013, and then by 30 percent. The goal was reached and surpassed.
Since the beginning of the national campaign California providers have reduced the use of antipsychotic medication by 39.2 percent! 2016 CMS Antipsychotic Partnership Report
We believe the number of residents that are being prescribed antipsychotic medication can be reduced and we continue to explore ways to prevent and manage difficult behavior without medications.
The use of antipsychotic medication to treat behavior associated with dementia is not supported clinically and is considered off-label by the FDA, which issued a “black box” warning for the elderly with dementia.
Long-term care doctors in skilled nursing settings strive to offer the best care possible using the least amount of medication. When medications are appropriate, physicians must carefully weigh the dangers against the individual benefits starting with the lowest dose possible. Physicians are also required to reassess the use of psychoactive drugs on a quarterly basis.
In addition, the resident or a representative must provide informed consent regarding the use of these medications, except in emergencies.
The use of psychoactive medication is legal and strictly regulated by the state and federal government.