An observational study of antipsychotic medication use among long-stay nursing home residents without qualifying diagnoses

TitleAn observational study of antipsychotic medication use among long-stay nursing home residents without qualifying diagnoses
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsPhillips L.J, Birtley N.M, Petroski G.F, Siem C., Rantz M.
JournalJ Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs
Date PublishedOct
ISBN Number1351-0126
Accession Number29911331
KeywordsAged, Antipsychotic Agents/*therapeutic use, antipsychotic medication, Dementia/*drug therapy, Drug Prescriptions/*statistics & numerical data, Female, Humans, Long-Term Care/*statistics & numerical data, Male, Medicaid/statistics & numerical data, Medicare/statistics & numerical data, Minimum data set, Missouri, nursing home, Nursing Homes/*statistics & numerical data, United States

WHAT IS KNOWN ON THE SUBJECT?: In the United States, 15.5% of nursing home residents without qualifying diagnoses of schizophrenia, Huntington's' Disease, and/or Tourette Syndrome receive antipsychotic medications. Antipsychotic medications are used off-label (i.e., used in a manner the United States Food and Drug Administration's packaging insert does not specify) to treat neuropsychiatric symptoms, often before attempting nonpharmacologic interventions, despite evidence that this drug class is associated with significant adverse events including death. Less than optimal staffing resources and lack of access to geropsychiatric specialists are barriers to reducing antipsychotic use. WHAT THE PAPER ADDS TO EXISTING KNOWLEDGE?: Antipsychotic use occurred in 11.6% of nursing home residents without qualifying or potentially qualifying diagnoses (bipolar disorder and psychotic disorder); antipsychotic use was more prevalent in residents with a dementia diagnosis than those without. One additional registered nurse hour per resident day could reduce the odds of antipsychotic use by 52% and 56% for residents with and without a dementia diagnosis respectively. WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE?: Given the influence of total staffing and professional staff mix on risk of antipsychotic use, nursing home administrators may want to consider aspects of facility operation that impact antipsychotic use. More stringent Unites States' survey and certification standards for dementia care implemented in 2017 demand proactive person-centered care that promotes maximal well-being and functioning without risk of harm from inappropriate psychoactive medications. Mental health nurses have requisite training to provide expert person-centered care to nursing home residents with mental illness and geropsychiatric disorders. ABSTRACT: Introduction Antipsychotic use in nursing homes varies widely across the United States; inadequate staffing, skill mix, and geropsychiatric training impede sustained improvement. Aim This study identified risk factors of antipsychotic use in long-stay residents lacking qualifying or potentially qualifying diagnoses. Method This secondary analysis used 2015 Minimum Data Set and cost report data from 458 Missouri nursing homes. The full sample (N = 29,679) was split into two subsamples: residents with (N = 15,114) and without (N = 14,565) a dementia diagnosis. Separate logistic regression models were run. Results Almost 15% of the dementia subsample and 8.4% of the nondementia subsample received an antipsychotic medication in the past week. Post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis indicators, behavioral symptoms, anxiety medication with and without anxiety diagnosis, depression medication with and without depression diagnosis, and nurse staffing were among the strongest predictors of antipsychotic use in both subsamples. Simulation analyses showed decreased odds of receiving an antipsychotic in both subsamples when registered nurse hours matched the national average. Discussion Matching nurse staffing mix to the national average may improve antipsychotic use in nursing homes. Implications Knowledge of antipsychotic use risk factors use can inform care planning and staff education to minimize use of these medications in all but severe cases.


Short TitleJournal of psychiatric and mental health nursingJ Psychiatr Ment Hlt
Alternate JournalJournal of psychiatric and mental health nursing