Massachusetts looks for alternatives to antipsychotics

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Nursing home regulators in Massachusetts have launched a campaign to limit the use of antipsychotic drugs in facilities. During the next year, groups of dementia specialists will travel around to several nursing homes to observe non-medication strategies for dealing with difficult—and often violent—dementia patients. A technique already in place in some nursing homes involves thorough screenings of new residents. In these situations, nursing home workers talk to potential residents and their families to find out what—if any—behavior problems existed prior to the onset of dementia. Another strategy is consistent scheduling. If workers consistently work with the same residents, the residents start to trust them more, making them less likely to act out violently.