Antipsychotic Use Continues to Decrease Among Long-Stay Nursing Home Residents, CMS Report Shows

Association’s National Quality Initiative Leads the Way

Washington, D.C. —The national prevalence of antipsychotic medication use in long-stay nursing home residents continues to decline, a report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) shows.  According to data compiled by the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes –  a public-private coalition under the direction of CMS –  18.7 percent of long-stay nursing home residents were receiving an antipsychotic medication in the first quarter of 2015 compared with 23.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, representing a 21.7 percent decrease.

“This represents the progress we’ve made in bettering the lives of those we serve every day,” said Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association (AHCA). “Together with CMS and AHCA’s Quality Initiative, more than 35,000 nursing center residents living with dementia are no longer receiving antipsychotic medications.  But we can’t stop there. We are working to safely reduce the use of the medication by a total of 30 percent over the next two years and are well on our way.”

As of the first quarter of 2015, AHCA members have achieved a 23 percent decrease in the reduction of antipsychotic use.

In May, AHCA announced the expansion of its nationwide, multi-year initiative to improve quality care in skilled nursing care centers.  Building on the progress achieved by the profession, one of its goals is to safely reduce the off-label use of the medication by a total of 30 percent by the end of 2016. 

“This new data demonstrates how a collaborative partnership between CMS, providers and consumers can be very successful,” said Dr. David Gifford, AHCA Senior Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs and a board-certified geriatrician.

In 2012, AHCA launched its Quality Initiative and later joined CMS in supporting its National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes.

“However, despite the progress we’ve made, CMS is now proposing restrictive documentation regulations on how these medications can be prescribed,” said Gifford. “This proposed change will shift the focus away from providing better care for those with dementia. We will continue to work with CMS to recommend solutions to safely decrease the use of antipsychotics and promote more person-centered care.”

The report by the Partnership is located here. Data exclude residents diagnosed with schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease or Tourette’s Syndrome.


The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represent more than 13,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental 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 or