Antipsychotic Medication: Still on the Decline

October 26, 2017

SACRAMENTO - The number of residents in skilled nursing homes in California receiving antipsychotic medication has reached a new low according to a new report from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

California now ranks fourth best in the nation in reducing the use of antipsychotic medication in patients who suffer from dementia or other cognitive impairments. Only Alaska, New Jersey and Hawaii have lower rates of antipsychotic usage.

During the second quarter of 2017, less than one in eight California nursing home residents or 11.9 percent were prescribed antipsychotic medication, according to federal regulators.  That compares to an average of 15.5 percent of residents who are receiving antipsychotics across the nation. 

California is a participant in the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care, an effort to deliver comprehensive, person-centered care with a focus on limiting antipsychotic medications unless there is a valid, clinical indication of need.

The partnership was established in late 2011 to address a practice where 23.9 percent of nursing home residents were receiving antipsychotic medication.  Many states have since reduced their use by more than 30 percent. During the past six years, California providers reduced the use of antipsychotics by nearly 45 percent.  

“Our providers have worked hard to reduce the use of medication where possible,” said Jim Gomez, CEO/president of the California Association of Health Facilities.  “They should be commended for their daily efforts to improve the quality of life for residents.”