State regulators and the Massachusetts nursing home industry are launching a campaign [11/19/10] to reduce the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications for residents with dementia — a practice that endangers lives and is more common here than in most other states.
During the next year, a team of specialists will identify nursing homes with successful methods for avoiding overuse of antipsychotics and determine which homes need help cutting back. Nursing home staff will be taught how to deal with aggressive and difficult behaviors, often displayed by dementia patients, without resorting to antipsychotics to sedate them.
In 2009, 22 percent of Massachusetts nursing home residents who received antipsychotic medications did not have a diagnosis for which the drugs were recommended — the 12th highest rate of inappropriate antipsychotic use in the nation, the Globe re ported earlier this year.
Twice in the past five years, federal regulators have issued nationwide alerts about troubling and sometimes fatal side effects when antipsychotics are taken by people with dementia, often Alzheimer’s patients.
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Massachusetts Aims to Cut Drug Overuse for Dementia