HHSC: Texas Reduces Use of Antipsychotics in Nursing Facilities

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Statewide effort improves wellbeing of long-term care facility residents, state officials say

AUSTIN — Texas has reduced its use of antipsychotics in nursing homes by 58 percent — more than any other state, according to a report by the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes.

“Reducing the use of these drugs directly improves the quality of life for residents in nursing facilities, and we are proud of this result,” said Stephanie Stephens, director of Medicaid at Texas HHSC. “We worked closely with providers to educate them on the use of these medications and alternative strategies to address behavioral issues for residents, especially those with dementia.”

Texas now ranks 11th in the nation in reducing the prevalence of antipsychotic use among long-term care residents. A key measure of nursing facility quality — and one closely tracked by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — is the use of antipsychotic medications for residents, especially those with dementia.

In 2011, Texas was ranked 51st in the nation for the highest use of antipsychotic drugs, with 28.8% of nursing facility residents receiving antipsychotic drugs.

Since then, HHSC has launched several initiatives to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications among residents of nursing care facilities, including the implementation of specialized training programs focused on dementia care for providers and staff. of nursing facilities, the creation of an online toolkit for registered professional nurses and the creation of the Center of Excellence. in Aging Services and Long-Term Care, a collaboration between HHSC and the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing that provides online training and resources on best practices in geriatrics and disability.

Collaboration between HHSC, providers, advocacy groups, industry groups, and many others has resulted in a significant and lasting reduction in the use of antipsychotic medications. At the same time, beginning in 2015, HHSC identified an increase in new diagnoses of schizophrenia among residents of Texas nursing facilities. HHSC convened a working group of stakeholders and partners to address this issue and discuss the state’s shared commitment to working collaboratively to ensure accurate diagnoses and quality of care.

The Texas HHS Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman also educated residents about the use of antipsychotics. The program has published an educational brochure for residents, family members and facility staff to ensure that residents are only prescribed these powerful drugs with a proper diagnosis.

“Texans deserve to be supported in the care planning process, and we’ve worked closely with residents and families across the state to ask questions about the purpose of a new order, help residents to communicate medication side effects and support residents with seeking alternatives to antipsychotic medications when possible,” said Patty Ducayet, state long-term care ombudsman.

Other efforts to reduce antipsychotic use in Texas have included the implementation of the Music and Memory program, which provides MP3 players to seniors with dementia to help them reconnect with the world through triggered memories. through music, which can improve quality of life and quality of care. . The program was launched in 2015 as a pilot program at HHSC state-supported nursing facilities and living centers and at Austin State Hospital in 2016. Since then, more than 1,000 nursing homes across Texas have participated in the HHSC Music & Memory program. For more information about the Music and Memory program, visit the HHS website.

More information is available at hhs.texas.gov. Texas residents can call 2-1-1 to learn more about programs and services.

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