Gifford offers assistance on lowering antipsychotics use
Gifford offers assistance on lowering antipsychotics use

As pressure from federal regulators increases, the senior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs for the nation’s largest nursing home group is offering guidance on how providers can reduce their antipsychotic use.

The American Health Care Association set a target for its members to reduce off-label use of antipsychotics by 15% by the end of 2012, a goal shared by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. AHCA’s David Gifford, M.D., told McKnight’s during the association’s annual show that facilities could start this process by looking at residents who don’t need the medications on a daily basis.

“Certainly, initially, they can target individuals who are on PRN, or as-needed doses, or very low doses,” Gifford said in a video interview with McKnight’s Editor James M. Berklan. “Literature suggests you can safely withdraw people from that medication. And the vast majority do not need to have it restarted. We encourage everyone to start that trial.”

CMS has said it is promoting alternatives to medication, such as consistent staff assignments, increased exercise or time outdoors, monitoring and managing acute and chronic pain, and planning activities.

AHCA also has targeted improvements in rehospitalizations, staff retention and resident satisfaction rates.