A new program is now available to long term care providers who are looking to improve the quality of dementia care.

Dementia Treatment

Compiled by the AMDA, the resource is free if you agree to take a survey at the end. long term careThe program provides information for both prescribers and non-prescribers to help focus on person-centered care and reduce the number of antipsychotic medications used in long term care facilities, specifically nursing homes.

Though long term care providers have made progress in cutting down  the number of antipsychotic drugs used, a recent report revealed that some providers may be quick to put patients back on the medication if they notice the patient “gets worse” once the drug dosage is reduced or stopped. This CMS report urged the importance of behavioral therapy to help curb these behaviors after weaning off the antipsychotic.

Many patients will seem to “appear worse” once the dosage has dropped, but over time, these behaviors can be remedied by therapy. Sleep problems are a common occurrence in individuals who have recently gotten off antipsychotics, and simple steps can be taken to help decrease the prevalence of these issues.

Decline in Use

Earlier this month, the AHCA announced that they were nearing their goal for antipsychotic usage, which has declined by 13% through the 2nd quarter of 2013. Their final goal is a reduction of 15%, a significant step in ridding long term care patients of these sometime unnecessary medications. The 13% decline indicates that 19,600 residents have already been weaned from the drugs successfully.

Antipsychotic use is controversial among many, because those who oppose widespread use of the drugs claim that long term care providers often give them to patients who have no need for such medications. Overuse can lead to a number of issues and can cause otherwise calm and interactive patients to become withdrawn and enter a sort of psychosis.

Behavioral therapy treatment is much more effective at helping curb problem behaviors that some long term care residents might exhibit. As the incidence of dementia continues to increase across the nation, it becomes even more important to address the issue of antipsychotic use and how we plan to treat these patients. Read more about the connection between depression and dementia or find out more about how to plan for long term care.