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A call for more nurses, fewer antipsychotics in nursing homes

April 27, 2012
by Charlene Marietti
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Hundreds of thousands of elderly nursing home residents receive atypical antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes. Many uses are inappropriate, off-label and do not meet the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) use standards

At a Senate Special Committee on Aging – The Future of Long-Term Care: Saving Money by Serving Seniors – held last week in Washington, D.C., Tony Edelman, senior policy attorney for the Willimantic, Conn.-based non-profit Center for Medicare Advocacy, called attention to the connection between the high cost of poor care, the inappropriate use of the antipsychotics and suboptimal staffing.

Eliminating the inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs among elderly residents of nursing facilities combined with adequate staffing levels could result in higher quality of care as well as dramatic cost savings, according to Edelman.

More information on the use of antipsychotics in nursing homes is available in The Medicare Atypical Antipsychotic Drug Claims for Elderly Nursing Home Residents report, which was published by the Office of the Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services in May 2011.

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