Antipsychotic Misuse in Nursing Homes in the News

by Timothy Gieseke MD, CMD 

On February 5th, KTVU TV in Northern California aired an investigative report on Channel 2 for which I’ve attached the written version.  This report was triggered by a daughter’s complaint about the misuse of an antipsychotic in her mother with sudden and persistent adverse effect when the medicine was likely unnecessary. This ultimately led to the daughter moving her mother to a different facility where the medicine was stopped and the patient with dementia returned to a stable baseline status without problem behaviors.

While this report sounded an alarm for the public, it didn’t provide a constructive approach to this very real problem for the consumer or the professional.  Fortunately in California, we have had an effective collaboration for improving dementia care.  The owner of this helpful electronic repository of information is the CCPCC (California Coalition for Person Centered Care) which formerly was known as the California Culture Change Coalition.  In response to this TV program, their BOD developed a helpful press release available on its web site at:

Please review this helpful press release and peruse tne robust resources available for consumers and professionals.  While Antipsychotic use in California since 2012 has dropped 45%, we can do better.  Nationally, CMS has charged the QIOs (HSAG) to focus on facilities that haven’t yet made substantial improvements.  As a physician who still sees significant misuse of these agents in the Acute Hospital, Hospice, SNF, and RCFE settings, we have many opportunities to improve the care of this vulnerable population of patients.

CALTCM is a member of this collaborative.  Please join us in being a part of the solution.