Atypical – or second generation – antipsychotics are often prescribed for nursing home residents with dementia, a disease that affect approximately 40 to 60% of all nursing home residents. Recent research and evidence, questions the effectiveness of prescribing atypical antipsychotic medications for dementia.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) conducted a study with the University of Massachusetts and Qualidigm to explore how atypical antipsychotic prescribing practices can be improved.
Qualidigm recruited 70 nursing homes across the state to participate in a needs assessment, which included structured interviews with staff, and environmental scans. Findings showed that caring for residents with dementia was a recurring area of interest.
Combining the survey results with Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) on atypical antipsychotics, the team developed a specialized informational toolkit containing useful educational and training materials on medication use and alternative behavioral interventions for residents with dementia and made it available online for residents, staff, and families.
All 70 of the nursing homes received the Qualidigm tool kit containing tools, techniques and interventions to help someone with dementia unable to articulate their own needs. Many of the nursing homes saw a reduction in amount of anti-psychotics, and staff commented on how their clients had an increased appetite. Nursing homes also saw impact in staff lives; many were able to use the tool kit outside of the work environment.