Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), CANHR obtained data on each California nursing home’s use of psychoactive drugs. The information is self-reported by nursing homes to CMS via the Minimum Data Set (MDS), a uniform national assessment system for nursing home residents.
The information on each nursing home’s use of psychoactive drugs is contained in a searchable spreadsheet at the following links.
Each California nursing home that participates in Medicare and/or Medi-Cal is listed separately. The spreadsheet is divided into the following four pages: Antipsychotic, Antianxiety, Antidepressant, and Hypnotic. Each page can be accessed via tabs with these labels at the bottom of the spreadsheet.
You can search the spreadsheet by the name of any facility to see its drugging rate.
Following the name and location of each nursing home, the spreadsheet contains (eight) 8 columns showing the percentage of residents who received each type of psychoactive drug from 0 to 7 days per week. In most cases, nursing homes give these drugs to residents on a daily basis, so the vast majority of drug use appears in the column showing the percentage of residents who were drugged seven (7) days per week.
In the spreadsheets, you will see two columns for “assessed residents with a response” and “assessed residents with no response.” The assessed residents with no response are those who have not been counted. We do not know why they were not counted. The number of residents in this category has significantly increased since 2009.
Antipsychotic drug use: Unless you have a severe mental illness and have a legitimate need for these drugs, it is not safe to enter a nursing home that uses antipsychotic drugs at a high rate. Some commonly used antipsychotics are Risperdal, Seroquel, Zyprexa and Haldol. These drugs greatly increase the risk of death for elders with dementia and should only be used as a last resort and only with appropriate medical justification. Recent research shows that persons admitted to a nursing home are much more likely to be subjected to antipsychotic drugs if they enter a facility that uses these drugs at a high level. Put another way, it is often the nursing home’s drug rate, not a resident’s medical condition, which determines whether he or she will be drugged and put at the risk of premature death. In California, nursing home use of antipsychotic drugs varies from 0 to 100 percent of residents. The statewide average is 24.3 percent, which is very close to the national average. Do not assume that a nursing home’s drug rate is acceptable if it is at or below the state average. Antipsychotic drugs are widely misused by nursing homes, so the current norms are dangerous and unacceptable. See CANHR’s guide, Toxic Medicine, for more information on these drugs.
Antianxiety drug use: These drugs, such as Ativan and Valium, are also often used to sedate and chemically restrain nursing home residents. Like antipsychotic drugs, they are often prescribed for unapproved uses and can cause serious side effects. In California, nursing home use of antianxiety drugs varies from 0 to over 50 percent of residents. The California average is 17.9 percent; the national average is 20.9 percent.
Hypnotic drug use: Hypnotics and sedatives are drugs such as Ambien and Restoril. Nearly 10 percent of California nursing home residents are given these drugs one or more days per week, while the national average is 6.3 percent. The range in California nursing homes varies from 0 to more than 60 percent of residents receiving hypnotic drugs.
Antidepressant drug use: Antidepressants are drugs such as Prozac and Zoloft. Nationally, more than half of nursing home residents are given antidepressants one or more days per week. About 37.7 percent of California nursing home residents receive these drugs. In California, nursing home use of antidepressants varies from 0 to more than 80 percent of residents.