Affirmation Center
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Hartford, CT 06106

Phone: (860) 727-8703
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Cole Center
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Hartford, CT 06120

Phone: (860) 548-0101
Fax: (860) 524-7781

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Nursing Home Program Offers Alternatives to Antipsychotic Drugs

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Apr 20th 2017

new article illustration

THURSDAY, April 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Hoping to cut the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing home residents, researchers tried training staff on new ways to meet the needs of residents with dementia.

Although antipsychotics are often given to people with dementia, the drugs are only minimally effective at controlling behavioral problems and have been shown to increase the chances for stroke and death, the researchers said.

"This intervention focused on treating the residents as human beings with needs, not as patients with problems," said lead author Dr. Jennifer Tjia.

The new study included 93 nursing homes in Massachusetts. Staff -- including nurses, nursing assistants, dietary staff and receptionists -- were trained to recognize that difficult behavior by residents with dementia is a sign that they have unmet needs.

The program, called OASIS, provides employees with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to meet the needs of residents with dementia using drug-free methods, according to the report.

After nine months, results from nursing homes using OASIS were compared with those at over 800 nursing homes in Massachusetts and New York that were not enrolled in the program.

Nursing homes enrolled in the OASIS program had a 7 percent drop in antipsychotic prescriptions, compared with a 4 percent decline at the other nursing homes.

"We don't medicate babies when they cry or act out, because we assume that they have a need that we need to address. However, when people with dementia are unable to communicate, the current approach medicates them when they have undesirable behaviors," said Tjia. She is an associate professor of quantitative health sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

"The OASIS program asks nursing staff to create care plans that include what residents can do, shifting away from the model that focuses on what they can't do," Tjia added in a university news release. "This is a fundamental shift in how to think about caring for persons with dementia and we showed that it is effective."

The study was published April 17 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

More information

The Alzheimer's Association has more on dementia.




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Affirmation Center
One Main Street

Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: (860) 727-8703
Fax: (860) 548-2045
Mon & Tu: 8:30 - 7:00
Wed, Th, Fri, Sat: 8:30 - 4:30

Cole Center
2550 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06120
Phone: (860) 548-0101
Fax: (860) 524-7781
Mon, Tu, & Fri: 8:30 - 4:30
Wed & Thu: 8:30 - 7:00

Our offices are closed from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM for lunch.

 

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Children (under 18),
please call 211.

Adults, please call our mobile
crisis unit at 860-297-0999

For an immediate crisis call 911.


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