Real Change Is Possible

June 26, 2015
Kavan Peterson, Editor, ChangingAging.org

It just takes a little bit of focus.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have been pushing hard for the last few years on a national campaign to reduce off label use of antipsychotics in treating those living with dementia. Through training, awareness, data collection, and a new set of standards CMS is hoping to reach its goal of 25% reduction by the end of this year.

A broad coalition including state organizations and non-profits has formed around this goal and has already succeeded in reaching the 15% reduction milestone. The progress to date can be attributed, in part, to education focused on changing the perception of dementia. In many cases there are alternatives to antipsychotics that staff can be trained to recognize and implement.

This development is heartening me for many reasons, but mainly because it demonstrates that progress can be made on a national level. Certainly, it takes time, resources, continued focus, and the support of a broad spectrum of people and organizations. But it is success nonetheless.

Person-directed care, I believe, is fundamental to making lasting change to this country’s long-term care system. As this project matures and becomes more successful we have the opportunity to really study and practice implementing these ideas on a national level. CMS is showing that just maybe it can be different.

 

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