New Ecumen White Paper Offers 5 Key Steps to Reducing Antipsychotics in Dementia Care

Senior care professionals and nursing homes are challenged to conform to the 2012 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services initiative to decrease off-label use of antipsychotics. In many cases, the struggle comes from within – initiating change and formulating an integrated and personalized approach to dementia care.

Ecumen, a pioneer in changing the culture of care for those with Alzheimer’s and related dementias, recently released a white paper titled, “Reducing Antipsychotics in Dementia Care: 5 Key Steps to Success,” based on its award-winning Awakenings™ program.  The white paper can be downloaded at

The five key steps outlined in the white paper are based on Ecumen’s five-year journey to reduce the use of highly-sedating antipsychotics in dementia care. Awakenings started as a small pilot in a remote northern Minnesota nursing home by two courageous and determined women who decided they could no longer tolerate the national norm of excessive use of chemical restraints on the nursing home residents.

Between 2010 and 2013, Ecumen Awakenings decreased the dosage or discontinued use of more than 1,000 psychotropic medications and reduced the use of antipsychotics among people with a diagnosis of psychosis by 97 percent.

Ecumen’s Awakenings program, which won the 2014 LeadingAge Excellence in Dementia Care Award, is used in all 15 Ecumen nursing homes. It is now being introduced to 14 assisted living communities.