Sedative use drops at Mass. nursing homes
BOSTON — An industry group says a pilot program to reduce the use of anti-psychotic medications in 11 Massachusetts nursing homes has reduced their use by 21 percent in the first year.
The initiative was prompted by a 2010 Boston Globe analysis that found use of the powerful sedatives in state nursing homes was the 12th highest in the country, and many residents were given the medications unnecessarily.
Laurie Herndon, director of clinical quality for the Massachusetts Senior Care Foundation, says an expansion of the program to 104 other homes has had less dramatic results, with a 7 percent reduction.
Experts say nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease or a similar cognitive impairment are at greater risk of death when given anti-psychotic medications. Federal regulators have issued alerts about serious side effects of antipsychotics.