Contact: Richard Mollot, email@example.com, 212-385-0356
December 20, 2022 – More than one million people live in US nursing homes and each week, one in five of them are given dangerous antipsychotic (AP) drugs. In most cases these drugs are administered without clinical justification. In 2012, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care to reduce the use of dangerous antipsychotic (AP) drugs in nursing homes, but these potent drugs continue to flood nursing homes, inflicting immeasurable harm on residents and burdening the nation’s long-term care system.
Today, the Long Term Care Community Coalition releases a new report, “A Decade of Drugging,” examining how dementia care has – and hasn’t – changed since the launch of the Partnership. Based on analysis of public antipsychotic drugging data, academic research, government reports, media investigations, and discussions with long-term care stakeholders including residents, families, ombudsmen, providers, and advocates, we find that a once-promising campaign has sputtered and fallen short of its goals to curb AP drug use.
Our key findings include:
- Roughly 250,000 nursing home residents are receiving dangerous APs each week.
- Some nursing homes are obfuscating the true number of residents receiving AP drugs to preserve their reputation and bottom lines.
- An estimated 1.1 million residents could have been spared from dangerous AP drugs had CMS set and achieved an annual reduction goal of 20%.
- Four in five residents are administered psychotropic drugs (which has remained constant since 2011).
- One-third of residents reported in the MDS as having schizophrenia do not have evidence of the diagnosis in their Medicare claims history.
Head to nursinghome411.org/decade-drugs to read the report and access important supplementary materials including:
- An interactive Tableau dashboard illustrating state and national AP drugging trends since the start of the partnership.
- Comprehensive AP drugging datasets with quarterly drugging rates (risk-adjusted and non-risk-adjusted) at the state and national level.
- A list of commonly prescribed AP drugs (generic and brand names).
- Free dementia care resources to support resident-centered advocacy.
With this report, we hope to raise awareness of the continued rampant misuse of antipsychotic drugs and provide recommendations to mitigate the widespread use of AP drugs in nursing homes. Until CMS takes meaningful action to strengthen enforcement and enhance transparency, too many residents will continue to pay the price.