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Medications

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Medications, when used appropriately, can help promote the resident’s highest practicable mental, physical, and psychosocial well-being. Medications used inappropriately can compromise a resident’s well-being and even cause death. Ensuring that residents receive medications that are needed and appropriate for their medical condition is a critical component of safe and effective care.

Initially, this goal will focus on antipsychotic drugs, which are sometimes used to address behavioral responses in persons with dementia. Working on this goal will provide the nursing home staff with alternative non pharmacological interventions for residents who otherwise would likely be treated with antipsychotic medications. In addition, working on this goal will provide nursing home staff with tools to assist in reconciling medications, starting with antipsychotic medications, to avoid inadvertent omissions, duplications, and incorrect dosing. The result will be better health and quality of life for residents.

How does appropriate medication use benefit residents?
  • Inappropriate use of antipsychotics is associated with adverse effects such as death, heart attack, stroke, falls, and hospitalizations.
  • Non-pharmacologic interventions may enhance quality of life for the resident.
  • Non-pharmacologic interventions support a resident to function at his or her highest practicable mental, physical and psychosocial well-being.
  • Non-pharmacologic interventions may enhance the relationship between residents and their family and friends as well as with staff.
  • Avoiding inappropriate medications reduces the risk of medication errors.
  • Non-pharmacologic interventions provide opportunities for holistic, person-centered care practices that help meet resident’s physical, social, and emotional needs.
How does appropriate medication use benefit staff?
  • Non-pharmacologic interventions may enhance the relationship between staff and residents and increase staff satisfaction.
  • Engaging residents in meaningful activity may be more professionally rewarding and satisfying to staff than pharmacologic intervention.
  • Evidence-based tools and guidance for medication reconciliation for antipsychotic medications are helpful for staff.
How does appropriate medication use benefit nursing homes?
  • Focus on non-pharmacologic interventions for persons with dementia prepares the nursing home for increased survey activity in this area.
  • Person-centered care may lead to increased resident and family satisfaction and thus improve nursing home marketability.
  • Evidence-based tools, resources and guidance for medication reconciliation related to the use of antipsychotic medications assist the nursing home to provide a high standard of care.
  • Litigation resulting from medication errors may be reduced.
  • Non-pharmacologic interventions frequently support other nursing home quality initiatives, such as consistent assignment or person-centered care practices, which are mutually beneficial. Coordinating quality improvement initiatives leads to better outcomes for the resident, staff and the nursing home care practices.