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California sees dramatic reduction in use of antipsychotics in nursing homes

November 13, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Drug Prescribing/Dispensing Hospitals and Health Facilities Patient Care 


Five years ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a national initiative, the Partnership to Improve Dementia Care, to reduce the unnecessary use of antipsychotic drugs and improve the overall care of nursing home residents. Since the initiative began, California has seen a dramatic decline in the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes, and now ranks as the 4th lowest in the country.


In 2017, 11.9 percent California long-stay nursing home residents were receiving an antipsychotic medication, down from 21.6 percent in 2011 (a 44.8 percent decrease). Nationwide, rates dropped to 15.5 percent in 2017, down from 23.9 percent in 2011 (a 35 percent decrease).


While the initial focus of this initiative was on reducing the use of antipsychotic medications, the larger mission is to enhance the use of non-pharmacologic approaches and person-centered dementia care practices.


The California Medical Association is a member of the California working group—the California Partnership to Improve Dementia Care— a practical, action-oriented statewide collaborative that promotes person-centered approaches which improve the quality of care and quality of life for older adults, wherever they may reside or receive care. For more information on this topic, including training tools, resources and information for health care providers, visit www.calculturechange.org.

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