Antipsychotic drug use correlated to staffing levels

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Antipsychotic drug use correlated to staffing levels
Antipsychotic drug use correlated to staffing levels
While antipsychotic drug use overuse has decreased since 2005, nearly a quarter of U.S. nursing homes are still giving many residents the medications against recommendations, a Boston Globe analysis reveals.
 
The good news: antipsychotic drug overuse decreased dramatically over five years, from 237,510 residents in 2005 to 185,370 in 2010. The paper found that "there is a clear link between the rate of antipsychotic use in a nursing home and its staffing level. … Nursing home specialists say it can be more time-consuming for staff to keep dementia patients calm without using drugs.” The series can be seen here.

The Globe's database of more than 15,000 nursing homes nationwide was compiled via information from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services through a Freedom of Information Act request. The data looks at the percentage of long-term residents “without a psychosis or related condition who received antipsychotics contrary to federal nursing home regulators' recommendations” and the “characteristics of each home, such as staffing levels, number of patients on Medicaid, and the number reported by staff to have behavioral problems.”