Federal regulators announced a multiyear initiative on Wednesday to slash the inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs on nursing home residents, saying that nearly 40 percent of residents with dementia were receiving the powerful sedatives though they did not have a condition that would warrant it.
The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it was aiming to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing home residents by 15 percent by the end of this year, through training of nursing home staff and of state inspectors on alternatives to using antipsychotics to quell aggressive and agitated behavior among people with dementia.
Alice Bonner, director of the agency’s nursing home division, said in an interview that the 15 percent cut is just the first step.
“In 2013 we will set another goal,’’ Bonner said. “At that point, we will be looking at even more significant reductions.’’
Another agency official said during a conference call with reporters that between July and September of 2010, almost 40 percent of nursing home residents with signs of dementia were receiving antipsychotic drugs even though they had not been diagnosed with a psychosis.
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