Washington, DC – In support of its national Quality Initiative, the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living Center (AHCA/NCAL) today released a consumer fact sheet on the use of antipsychotic medications for residents living with dementia in skilled nursing and assisted living.
“The long term care profession has made significant progress in safely reducing the off-label use of antipsychotics, but providers cannot solve this issue in a vacuum,” said AHCA/NCAL President & CEO Mark Parkinson. “We must educate our residents’ family members and involve them in the decision-making process. Together we can better ensure a higher quality of life for each individual living with dementia.”
Developed by AHCA/NCAL, the consumer fact sheet provides background on the issue of antipsychotic medications in persons living with dementia and answers commonly asked questions among family members. It also encourages consumers to get involved with their loved one’s care by asking specific questions to caregivers. AHCA/NCAL also created a Spanish version of the consumer fact sheet, the first of its kind on the issue.
“Most individuals receiving an antipsychotic in a long term care facility were already prescribed the drug before they were even admitted. Sometimes, the most difficult thing is convincing a family member that their loved one no longer needs this medication,” said Dr. David Gifford, AHCA Senior Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs and a geriatrician. “With a better understanding of the disease process and personal knowledge of their loved one, consumers will help us provide person-centered care without turning to antipsychotic medications.”
The AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative has a goal to safely reduce the off-label use of antipsychotics by 15 percent by the end of 2013. Skilled nursing care centers have already reduced these medications by 10.5 percent, as of the end of the first quarter of 2013. For more information on the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative, please visit qualityinitiative.ahcancal.org.
Download the English and Spanish versions of the antipsychotic consumer fact sheet, or please visit AHCA/NCAL’s webpage on antipsychotics: http://bit.ly/11dhFV2.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represent more than 12,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahca.org or www.ncal.org.