Overuse of Antipsychotic Drugs in Some Kansas Nursing Homes Endangering Patients

Experts say powerful antipsychotic drugs — sometimes given in combination — are used too much and often inappropriately as “chemical restraints” or sedatives to control the behavior of Kansas nursing home residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or other dementias, and that efforts to curb the practice so far are showing weak results compared with other states. “Kansas is pretty far outside the norm, clearly, of what is happening in the rest of the nation,” said Mitzi McFatrich, Executive Director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care, a Lawrence-based group that champions improved conditions in nursing homes. Kansas was 47th worst among the states and the District of Columbia in a recent rankings report published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which in 2012 launched a national initiative to reduce the use of antipsychotics for dementia in nursing home residents. The effort came after a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General raised concerns about too frequent “off-label” prescription of the drugs, which can have harmful, sometimes fatal, side effects.

Source/more: Hays (KS) Post

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