Tennessee nursing homes have dramatically decreased the use of antipsychotic drug use for residents living with dementia.
According to the state Health Department, antipsychotic drugs cost hundreds of millions of Medicare and Medicaid dollars and increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, falls with fractures, hospitalizations and other complications. Lowering the use of unnecessary antipsychotic medications improves residents' quality of life and reduces health care costs.
Tennessee led the nation for antipsychotic use in nursing homes in the fourth quarter of 2011. By the first quarter of this year the state had dropped to 48th in the nation.
Tennessee reduced the use of the drugs by conducting training sessions for nursing home staff members across the state. The training was part of a nationwide initiative to improve dementia care.