Colorado Skilled Nursing Care Centers Reach Milestone in Reducing Antipsychotic Use
in Residents with Dementia
State’s long term care providers exceed
national reduction goal
Denver, CO – The Colorado Health Care Association (CHCA) today announced that Colorado’s skilled nursing care centers attained a nationwide goal to safely reduce the off-label use of antipsychotic medications. As part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes and the profession’s national Quality Initiative, Colorado skilled nursing centers surpassed a nationwide 15 percent reduction goal, achieving a 17.5 percent reduction in antipsychotic medications between the end of 2011 and 2013. Colorado joins 29 other states that either met or exceeded the nationwide 15 percent reduction goal. Colorado was in the top 15 states in reduction of psychotropic medications.
“Today’s news provides concrete proof that Colorado’s long term care providers are revolutionizing care for individuals living with dementia,” said CHCA President & CEO, Doug Farmer. “Our skilled nursing care centers have set an example of what person-centered care looks like, and they should be proud of their accomplishment.”
Nationwide, nursing centers achieved a 15.1 percent reduction, starting from 23.8 percent of long-stay residents receiving an antipsychotic in fourth quarter 2011 to 20.2 percent in fourth quarter 2013. The decrease improves the lives of approximately 40,100 residents living with dementia who are no longer receiving these medications as a result of the profession’s efforts.
Today CHCA also endorsed new nationwide goals announced by CMS and the American Health Care Association (AHCA), to further decrease the use of antipsychotics in skilled nursing centers:
- an additional 10 percent nationwide reduction by the end of 2015;
- and another 5 percent nationwide reduction by the end of 2016.
This would result in a total reduction of antipsychotic use by 30 percent over a five-year effort.
“The progress skilled nursing centers have made has been tremendous, but we know there is more work to be done,” continued Farmer. “After seeing the strides long term care professionals in Colorado have already made to address this issue, we are confident we can continue to build upon our success and further improve the lives of Coloradoans living with dementia.”
The use of antipsychotic medication as an attempt to modify behaviors associated with dementia is not supported clinically and is considered off-label by the Food and Drug Administration. These medications may be appropriate for individuals suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, but in the elderly living with dementia, they increase the risk of complications resulting in poor health and high costs. As information about this issue has emerged over recent years, CHCA/CCAL has been vocal with its member centers, other stakeholders and consumers about safely decreasing the use of antipsychotics and promoting more person-centered care.
About the AHCA Quality Initiative
The American Health Care Association’s Quality Initiative is a national effort that builds upon existing work of the long term and post-acute care profession in advancing quality care by setting specific, measurable targets to further improve quality of care in America’s skilled nursing centers and assisted living communities. Among the Quality Initiative’s four priorities is a goal to safely reduce the off-label use of antipsychotic medications. The Quality Initiative embraces CMS’s Triple Aim of Better Health, Better Quality and Reduced Costs. For more information, please visit qualityinitiative.ahcancal.org.
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