After recognizing that far too many nursing home residents across the country are taking antipsychotic drugs to treat their dementia, both federal and state health officials have teamed together to curb this drug use and spread awareness about effective treatments for aging-related neurological problems.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have announced a partnership with nursing homes, elder care providers, and senior advocates that hopes to reduce the usage of antipsychotic drugs for dementia by 15 percent over the next year. The program, called the Partnership to Improve Dementia Care, will focus on providing nursing home employees with the proper training to care for patients, launch a website that will provide provoking data regarding antipsychotic drugs and dementia, and spread awareness of the alternative treatments and care plans for patients suffering from dementia, such as exercise, healthy diet, varied activities, and proper pain management.
Unfortunately, overmedication is a long-time problem in nursing homes in Texas and across the country. In some cases, overmedication can be a form of nursing home neglect in which patients who need the most care are drugged to keep them quiet and in bed. In other cases, antipsychotic drugs are used as a panacea for all dementia cases, when in fact, few of these drugs have been approved by the FDA to treat the ailment. In fact, the FDA recently added a black box warning to the label of these drugs that states use in seniors can cause death and other serious complications.