Providers should use technology to reduce antipsychotic drug use, experts say

New technology can help reduce the use of antipsychotics for nursing home residents with dementia, experts said during a McKnight's Super Tuesday webinar.

In a case study, Western Home Communities found adding computers at Martin Health Center that focused on person-centered recreation helped reduce PRN antipsychotic drugs among residents by 50%. The number of doses given to residents went down 20%, according to Josh Hansen, Western Home Communities' technology director.

Western Home Communities purchased four mobile computers from It's Never 2 Late, he said. Many residents used these programs to play games, order food or communicate with family and staff members.

“The best thing was the different pathways of engagement and relationships that were built between staff and residents, and staff and family members,” Hansen added.

Aside from the iN2L computers, several other technologies have been developed to help engage residents with dementia, Majd Alwan, Ph.D., LeadingAge senior vice president for technology and executive director of the Center for Aging Services Technologies said.

For example, less than 50% of adults in the US take their medication regularly, but technology such as mobile apps helps remind them, Alwan said.

No matter what technology is chosen, a resident's personal preference and engagement is crucial in deciding what systems to use, he added. In fact, there are other tools that measure the level of engagement of a resident by looking at body language and face expressions.

“CAST believes that innovation is a pipeline, but were also encouraging innovation at the upstream at the technology development,” Alwan said.

For more information and the full presentation, click here.