Q: The United Church Homes has reduced antipsychotic medications dramatically since 2012. How did you accomplish that?
A: We started looking at underlying problems of behaviors. We realized if they took care of that, we could reduce the antipsychotics. We did this in conjunction with geropsychiatry.
Q: How can we do a better job in talking to patients and families about these medications?
A: Some residents are going to require antipsychotics in certain situations, especially if there’s a risk to the resident or to those around them. There’s been a lot of bad press because they’ve been used in too high of doses and for cover- ing up other medical problems, such as insomnia or bladder urgency.
Q: UCH is one of the few senior living organizations to use Nuplazid. What can you tell us about that?
A: Nuplazid is a new atypical antipsychotic that has a very good safety profile. This particular antipsychotic came out for patients with hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease. A lot of our Parkinson’s patients were on low-dose Seroquel. We moved them to Nuplazid because the safety profile was impeccable. Within six weeks, it had some unbelievable benefits for these patients, with some cured of delusions and hallucinations.