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Medicare’s New Data on Mismedication of Nursing Home Residents

Many nursing home residents need several medications as part of their treatment plan. Some nursing homes have used medications to sedate residents more for the convenience of the nursing home staff than for the welfare of patients. CMS data show that in 2010, more than 17 percent of residents received daily doses of antipsychotic drugs exceeding recommended levels. The CMS goal is to get the offending number under 15 percent.

Mismedication is a common problem, but new data show that the use of antipsychotic drugs is down across the United States. In July, Nursing Home Compare revealed the new numbers from a CMS study:

  • The national prevalence of antipsychotic use in long stay nursing home residents has been reduced by 9.1 percent by the first quarter of 2013, compared to the last quarter of 2011.
  • There are approximately 30,000 fewer nursing home residents on these medications now than if the prevalence had remained at the pre-National Partnership level.
  • At least 11 states have hit or exceeded a 15 percent target and others are quickly approaching that goal. The states that have met or exceeded the target are: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.

CMS created the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in 2012. The Partnership plans to keep decreasing mismedication in the following ways:

  • Enhanced training for nursing home providers and state surveyor
  • Increased transparency by making antipsychotic use data available online at Nursing Home Compare
  • Highlighting alternate strategies to improve dementia care

The Partnership is not a perfect solution, but it is a step toward solving this nationwide problem. Risks of mismedication continue to plague nursing home residents.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.