Is Your Nursing-Home Choice Prescribing Too Many Antipsychotics?
You may have heard claims in the news lately about nursing homes overusing antipsychotic medications on people with Alzheimer’s. But what’s the right amount? What’s the magic number that indicates the drugs aren’t being overprescribed?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule, but there are some general guidelines, reports the website of The Boston Globe.
If more than 25 percent of residents are using antipsychotic medications, this may indicate that the Unit relies more on medications rather than behavioral techniques to calm aggressive symptoms, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
[A report from The Globe] winnowed this down further to determine the rate of prescribing antipsychotic drugs to those without psychosis or a related condition — which isn’t recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration for safety reasons. The report found that the national median for using antipsychotics in such patients was 16.7 percent, but you also need to ask about the percentage of residents with behavioral problems in the facility since that can correlate with rates of prescribing these medications. “Some nursing homes may work with those who have higher likelihood of psychiatric problems,” pointed out Rowlett, “while others don’t accept any patients with behavioral challenges.”
The article lists six questions you should ask—plus answers you should listen for—when evaluating a nursing home for someone who has Alzheimer’s. OurParents also offers some general questions for any nursing-home evaluation here.
You may also be interested in these previous OurParents posts about choosing a nursing home for someone who has Alzheimer’s:
- Comfort-Centered Alzheimer’s Care Makes a Difference, Some Experts Say
- New Concepts in Memory Care: Pets, Kids and Clubs
- Choosing a Senior-Care Facility: The Home Design Difference
- Nursing Homes for Alzheimer’s: Be Careful, Not Scared, Expert Says
Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.