Culture change helps reduce antipsychotic drug use, LeadingAge study asserts

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Reductions in depressive symptoms, pressure ulcers, incontinent episodes, catheter use and urinary tract infections are among the benefits for residents living in nursing homes that have implemented culture change, according to a LeadingAge Center for Applied Research study. Residents also were less likely to be on antipsychotic drugs.

Researchers acknowledged, however, that nursing homes have to implement culture change completely to reap the benefits.

“It is quality of life that doesn't improve until full adoption has taken place, and this is arguably the most important measure that should improve with culture change adoption,” said Linda Hermer, Ph.D., CFAR's senior research scientist and managing director of research, and the study's chief investigator.

The findings were part of the center's evaluation of PEAK 2.0,  a Medicaid pay-for-performance incentive program meant to facilitate the adoption of culture change in Kansas nursing homes.

“Many nursing homes think that they are full adopters of culture change,” Hermer said. “But when they learn more about it, they realize that they are not.”