Changing Aging Blog

Reducing Antipsychotic Medications in Nursing Homes - Ecumen Awakenings Initiative
Date: Dec 6th, 2010 7:50am

Author:

Eric Schubert

In six months, Ecumen colleagues at Sunrise nursing home, working with physicians, residents, and family members in Two Harbors, Minnesota eliminated the use of psychotropic drugs and decreased use of antidpressants by half. Eva Lanigan (above, left), an Ecumen clinical director who led this work, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in a article yesterday:

"The chaos level is down, but the noise is up -- the noise of people laughing, talking, much more engaged with life. It's amazing."

Now based on the work of Eva and her team, Ecumen is bringing this drug-reducing strategy to Ecumen's 15 other nursing homes. Helping make the work possible is a multi-million dollar grant from the State of Minnesota. The initiative is called "Awakenings," because people are literally awakening.

This is important work (see stats below) and hard work. But we know it will make lives better and provide insights for our entire profession. It is changing aging.

Did You Know?

  • In 2005, Medicaid spent $5.4 billion on atypical antipsychotic medicines, which is more than it spent on any other class of drugs, including antibiotics, AIDS drugs or medicines to treat high blood pressure.
  • According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, more than half are prescribed inappropriately to control dementia-related behaviors even though there is no mental illness diagnosis.
  •  According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, more than half are prescribed inappropriately to control dementia-related behaviors even though there is no mental illness diagnosis.

Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about this initiative and others at Ecumen.

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