New guidelines will add a grade to nursing homes based on the percent of their dementia patients receiving antipsychotic medications. That grade will show up in Nursing Home Compare.
New America Media (NAM)
May 21, 2015
Organizations mentioned/involved: California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR)
In nursing homes in California, 15 percent of dementia patients are on antipsychotic drugs, decreased from 21 percent three years ago, when regulations began following data saying that this medical treatment increased the risk of strokes, falls, and death.
The new guidelines will add a grade to nursing homes based on the percent of their dementia patients receiving antipsychotic medications. That grade will show up on their profile in Nursing Home Compare, a Medicare tool for consumers
Tony Chicotel, staff attorney at California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform notes that unintended consequences of the new guidelines. Several hundred nursing homes have rates that have either stayed the same or increased, in some cases almost doubled. Some facilities may be filtering out patients who take anti-psychotics to the worst facilities.
Chicotel says there are calls from families involved with assisted living and home care settings, which are not covered by Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare site and aren’t subject to the new guidelines.
“We need to be more proactive about trying to get data for assisted living facilities and reconfiguring our message so it’s more applicable to assisted-living facilities,” Chicotel says. Earlier this year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report urging the Department of Health and Human Services to strengthen regulation of antipsychotics in dementia patients beyond nursing homes.Tags: Disability: Mental Health, Seniors