CMS’ National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes Reduces Dependence on Antipsychotics

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A group at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) tasked with optimizing the quality of dementia care saw major gains last year by reducing the prevalence of antipsychotic use in long-stay nursing home residents by more than 30 percent.

CMS’ National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes was started in 2012 to enhance the use of non-pharmacologic, person-centered approaches to dementia care. The Partnership’s outreach efforts have garnered impressive results, according to recently released CMS data.

The Partnership met — and exceeded — its goal of reducing reliance on antipsychotics in dementia care at long-stay nursing homes by 30 percent by the end of 2016. Between the end of 2011 and the first quarter of 2017, antipsychotic use at those facilities fell by 34.1 percent, decreasing from 23.9 percent to 15.7 percent nationwide, according to CMS.

Graphic courtesy of CMS

CMS noted that the trend toward using fewer antipsychotics was widespread with all 50 states and every CMS region showing improvement. The states that reduced their rate by the highest percentage include the District of Columbia with 47.8 percent, Tennessee with 43.5 percent, California with 43 percent and Arkansas with 41.6 percent.

These results show that we know what strategies and best practices are working to reduce antipsychotic medication use,” said Karen Tritz, the Director of CMS’ Nursing Homes Division. Our goal moving forward is to translate these successes to a broader spectrum of long-term care facilities.”

For those nursing homes still experiencing higher rates of antipsychotic medication use, the Partnership set a new goal of decreasing use by 15 percent for long-stay residents by the end of 2019.