Antipsychotic use has been a problem in nursing homes for a long time, with Connecticut having higher usage rates than the nationwide average. However, after a push from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, more state homes have cut down on prescriptions, according to a report from the CT Post.

Woman holding elderly man's handsData from the CMS determined that, while the rate of use in Connecticut is higher than most states, it has dropped 33 percent since 2011. Yet, Connecticut’s decline goes beyond the national average of 27 percent. It was a goal of the CMS to decrease prescriptions by 25 percent by the end of 2015. Amongst all states, Vermont and Utah had the greatest declines.

In Connecticut nursing homes, about 17.5 percent of residents are prescribed antipsychotics, especially those who suffer from dementia. This amount is a decline from 26 percent in 2011. However, residents at state homes are more likely to have longer-lasting prescriptions.

CMS started requiring all state homes to begin reporting antipsychotic prescriptions in 2012. The agency understands that, while antipsychotics are an important part of treating patients’ mental health, these drugs come with several harmful side effects. Further, CMS acknowledged homes frequently used the drugs off label, giving them to patients who were only momentarily confused or suddenly aggressive.

In Connecticut, Medicare consultant Qualidigm fueled most of the shift. As part of the national program “Partnership to Improve Dementia Care,” Qualidigm trained state nursing staff on alternative therapies. These music and memory programs directly address behavioral and other issues related to dementia, educating family members about patients’ medications at the same time.

Now, 35 out of Connecticut’s 227 state nursing homes prescribe antipsychotics to 25 percent of its long-term patients. However, 23 others have gotten their numbers below 10 percent, while four only prescribe them to five percent of these patients.

Newer classes of antipsychotics come with several life-threatening side effects. If you or a loved one were prescribed one of these drugs, without being informed of potential side effects, Trantolo & Trantolo can help with your claim. Whether you’re dealing directly with a dangerous drug case or one related to nursing home negligence, our lawyers can be of assistance. To learn more, contact us today.