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Waveny Leads the Way in Medication Reduction

Posted on May 30, 2013

drugsWaveny Care Center is leading the way in medication reduction for patients – specifically, those with dementia – with excellent outcomes.

In response to new research conducted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the US federal agency that administers Medicare, Waveny has successfully reduced rates of antipsychotic medication in appropriate circumstances in favor of therapeutic person-centered, individualized interventions.

Historically, people living with dementia have frequently been prescribed antipsychotic drugs as a first resort by their physicians. “In many cases, psychological and behavioral symptoms can be managed with fewer antipsychotic drugs,” said Basil Papaharis M.D., medical director at the Care Center. “The key to achieving this is to follow the principles of good person-centered care.” While a medication regime may still be necessary, the reliance on many drugs or dosages may be successfully reduced with the integration of therapeutic recreation programs, sensory stimulation and individualized approaches to managing behavioral symptoms.

Waveny Care Center has successfully reduced antipsychotic medication given to residents, and presently runs an average of 7.9% for daily orders and 3.9% for as needed (PRN) compared to the national average of 25.2% and Connecticut state average 27.6% (both numbers, national and state, are combined averages of daily and PRN). This success is significant as the majority of the Care Center’s long-term residents have some form of dementia and require multiple interventions and medications for mood and behavior challenges.

This ongoing focus on reducing the use of antipsychotic drugs challenges professional caregivers to continue to work alongside residents and their families to identify new, innovative approaches to dementia care. “This significant reduction has been made possible through a variety of approaches, which include therapeutic recreational programs and initiatives to promote person-centered care as well as individualized creative outlets,” said Elyse Dent, Waveny’s campus administrator. Through multiple education programs – some sponsored by educational grants – Care Center and Village staff have been receiving specific training to facilitate these transitions through role modeling and the development of various communication tools used to understand each resident’s unique needs and personality. Notably, education extends to all staff throughout Waveny. “We are training all staff – not just our clinical departments – as we all play an important role in person-centered care.”

“While Waveny Care Center has always met and exceeded CMS benchmarks, this further plan of medication reduction has allowed nursing homes like Waveny to continually improve their approach to dementia care and reconnect with residents on a more personal level – always with enhanced quality of life as the driver,” said Dent.

Waveny Care Network provides a comprehensive continuum of healthcare to serve the growing needs of older adults from all areas. Waveny is a not-for-profit organization that offers independent living at New Canaan Inn, assisted living for people with Alzheimer’s and memory loss at The Village, and skilled nursing at Waveny Care Center. It also includes Waveny Home Healthcare, the Brown Geriatric Evaluation Clinic, a Geriatric Care Management team, an Adult Day Program available six days a week with transportation to and from New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Darien and Wilton, inpatient and outpatient Rehabilitation Services, and respite programs at both The Village and Care Center. For more information call (203) 594-5200 or visit www.waveny.org.