Tenn. working to reduce the use of anti-psychotic meds in dementia patients

Oct 3, 2018

Credit Eden Alternative

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The State of Tennessee says it has dramatically reduced the use of anti-psychotic medications used to treat dementia patients in nursing homes.

As recently as 2012, Tennessee nursing homes were medicating about one patient in three with the powerful drugs.

Sally Pitts directs the Tennessee Patient Care Advocacy Office. She says anti-psychotic use has now been reduced to about one person in six thanks to training and tighter reporting requirements.

“To a rare of 15.7 percent of residents. Of course, this moves Tennessee up from 49th to 29th in the nation for improvement in this area.”

The advocacy and education group Eden Alternative partnered with the state to change drug culture in Tennessee nursing facilities. Trainer Meredith Martin says when dementia patients act out it means they have a problem they can’t express.

“So we’ve been teaching Tennessee nursing home providers how to identify well being, and how people experience well being and how medications aren’t the answer.” 

The state’s Sally Pitts says nursing homes are engaged right now in a new new federal challenge to reduced anti-psychotics use another 15 percent by the end of 2019.

She encourages anyone who is concerned about the care a dementia patient is receiving to get in touch with the Tennessee Long Term Care Ombudsman