Western NY Nursing Home Patients Use, Need More Antipsychotic Drugs

Dec 11, 2014

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A current NPR news investigation shows high usage of Antipsychotic drugs in nursing facilities for the elderly. The national average usage rate is 19 percent. In New York, it averages 17 percent.

Drawing on NPR’s data, WXXI found high rates of antipsychotic drugs being used in facilities in the Rochester area-near 30 percent in some places, which almost twice the state average.

Rochester Geriatrician, Daniel Mendelson explains the reason is not misuse, but high need. The region leads the nation in care for elderly patients with substantial and complex needs.

“We have more certified medical directors, more board certified geriatricians, more geriatric psychiatrists in our region than just about any place in the country.”

The wide availability of geriatric services also means more medical trials.

“It is more likely that people will trial these medications in an appropriate fashion, but they still show up in the numbers as high utilization. So, utilization alone doesn’t mean inappropriate utilization.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a national campaign to reduce the misuse of antipsychotics in geriatric patients because of a range of potential side effects.

The full national investigation can be found at npr.org