Daniel D. Sewell, MD, Director, Senior Behavioral Health, UC San Diego Medical Center
Care For Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the National Network of Depression Centers and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry in developing this post.
Chemical restraint is a serious problem in nursing homes. History has shown that psychotropic medications tend to be overused in order to keep residents with problem behaviors such as wandering or combativeness subdued or “under control.”
In other words, there are documented instances when serious psychiatric drugs are given to people who might not have needed them.
To address this and other nursing home quality issues, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created a Five-Star Quality Rating System. One of the rating criteria is the number of residents at the facility who are receiving antipsychotic medications: the larger the number, the lower the score the facility receives.