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Antipsychotic drug reduction efforts need more consumer involvement, coalition says

December 12, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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Consumer awareness of and involvement in the activities of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes is lacking, according to a national survey of nursing home resident representatives conducted by the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC). Most survey respondents indicated that they would welcome the opportunity to participate in the partnership’s activities if given the chance, according to the LTCCC.

The partnership, according to CMS, was developed “to improve dementia care through the use of individualized, comprehensive care approaches” with the goal of reducing the use of unnecessary antipsychotic medications and other potentially harmful medications in nursing homes. CMS says that the target audience for the partnership is “consumer and advocacy groups, nursing home providers, surveyor community, prescribers, professional associations and other interested stakeholders.”

The LTCCC survey, which included residents, family council members, advocates and long-term care ombudsmen, found that, although 87 percent of respondents said they were aware of a federal campaign to improve dementia care and reduce the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes:

  • 45 percent said they were aware of the quarterly provider calls associated with the campaign;
  • 25 percent said they had participated in one or more of the provider calls associated with the campaign within the past two years;
  • 33 percent said they had received an email invitation from CMS to participate in the November 2014 provider call associated with the campaign; and
  • 11 percent said they had participated in the November 2014 call.

Seventy-seven percent of those who were not aware of the campaign or the calls said they would be interested in participating.

The exact number of responses varied by question.

The LTCCC recommends that:

  • Partnership conference calls be made more “consumer-friendly” by referring to them as something other than “provider calls” as they are referred to now;
  • The calls be made more relevant to consumers by discussing what CMS is doing to protect residents and hold providers accountable for meeting standards of care related to the use of antipsychotic medications; and
  • Additional calls be scheduled to update consumers about the latest data related to the use of antipsychotic medications as well as other efforts to improve dementia care.
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