United Church Homes Communities Reduce Use of Antipsychotics

The use of antipsychotic medications in United Church Homes communities has been reduced by double digits since the start of a federal initiative to improve dementia care in 2012.

United Church Homes is committed to providing the highest level of care and ensuring proper use of antipsychotic medications, said Terry Quinn, director of quality improvement and risk management. Among the new programs offered by UCH addressing the needs of people living with dementia is Comfort Matters, an award-winning palliative care program that improves the quality of life for people living with the disease.

The national average for use of antipsychotic medications currently is at 19.3 percent, compared to United Church Homes’ average of 11.5 percent. Nearly all UCH communities have seen major reductions of the use of this type of medication.

Three years ago, United Church Homes contracted with Dr. Boris Royak, medical director of geriatric psychiatry at St. Vincent Charity Hospital, to evaluate policies governing the  use of antipsychotic medications at UCH communities. He evaluated every health center resident taking antipsychotic medications to ensure they were properly diagnosed to receive the treatment.

“We have dramatically cut down our antipsychotic use from three to four years ago,” said Dr. Daniel Cannone, chief medical officer for United Church Homes.

The reduction was a result of clinical staff working diligently to assess residents’ needs and work on gradual dose reduction in an effort to discontinue unnecessary use of antipsychotics, Quinn said. Clinical staff monitor action plans to reduce the use of the medications.

Cannone said United Church Homes was one of the first multi-site senior living providers in the country to begin using Nuplazid, the only medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis.

“That medication is now being tested for Alzheimer’s disease and all dementias that have behavior problems. It has an excellent safety profile and does not require dosage reductions by state and federal surveyors,” Cannone said.

For more information about United Church Homes, visit unitedchurchhomes.org.

United Church Homes, based in Marion, Ohio, has been “Celebrating the Spirit” of seniors for more than a century. The nonprofit, faith-based organization is one of the nation’s largest providers of senior living services, with more than 1,800 dedicated staff serving 4,700 residents of all faiths in 72 senior living communities throughout 14 states and two Native American nations. UCH is in covenant with the United Church of Christ and welcomes residents of all faiths.

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