The below information comes from an interesting article published on the Senior Homes Blog.  A new program hopes to reduce the use of “chemical restraints” in nursing homes.   CMS has launched a program, the Partnership to Improve Dementia Care, that is striving to reduce the use of these drugs and improve the care and overall quality of life for these residents. This campaign will do this through the education of nursing home staff, as well as the general public. The program will also provide training to improve the quality of care, print information on the website Nursing Home Compare about the use of the drugs, and educate and inform nursing home about alternatives to chemical restrains.

Previously, nursing home facilities relied primary on out-dated physical restraints, such as lap belts and bed bars, to restrict the movement of their residents.   However, restraints are only to be used when they are absolutely necessary and doctor-ordered so nursing homes are turning to “chemical restraints” as a substitute.  We see this in many of our nursing home cases.  Residents so doped up they can’t move or talk.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that an appalling 17 percent of dementia residents in skilled nursing home facilities are being over medicated with unnecessary drugs that can alter their normal behavior and mood in an attempt to keep them sedated and restrained.
CMS is taking steps to fight this unneeded, overuse of restricting drugs in nursing homes.

Sadly, the potential benefits of this program may never be fully reached due to several obstacles.  The American Psychiatric Association reported that they view alternatives to chemical restrains as weaker options.  Also Matt Bennett, senior vice president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, voiced his concerns that the program will, “limit access to necessary pharmacological treatment.” Ironically, both of these concerned parties have heavy ties to the pharmaceutical business.  Knowing this, one would hope that these parties are speaking out of genuine concern for how this program will effect resident rather than simply because they are afraid it will hurt the pharmacological business and profits.

It is a tragic situation when profits, rather than quality of care, are made the main priority.

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