by Anthony Chicotel, CANHR Staff Attorney
The 4th quarter 2012 nursing home antipsychotic drug data is in and there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that overall antipsychotic use in nursing homes is down nationally by 4.6% from 4th quarter 2011. In California, the number is 5%. For the thousands of nursing home residents who are now free of antipsychotics, it’s a new day. The work of the many dedicated advocates, providers, policymakers, residents, and others to end the misuse of antipsychotics is bearing fruit.
On the other hand, CMS set a goal of reducing antipsychotic use nationwide in nursing homes by 15% in 2012. Despite that modest goal (which really downplays the damage done by unnecessary chemical restraints), we fell far short. A 4.6% reduction is a far cry from 15%. We have a of of work left to do.
But we think the work can make a difference. The fact that California – where a lot of leadership of the least medicating movement has been displayed – exceeded the national reduction is a positive sign that the harder we work, the more we can accomplish.
We will continue to track the antipsychotic numbers closely and hope that CMS and other nursing home leaders redouble their efforts and adopt even stronger goals – to eliminate ALL misuse of psychotropic drugs in nursing homes.