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Overmedicated in Kansas: Human Rights Watch says nursing homes among worst nationally


Kansas is one of six states spotlighted in a new report on the overuse of anti-psychotic drugs to sedate nursing home residents. The report compiled by Human Rights Watch notes Kansas’ status as one of the states with the highest percentage of nursing ...


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Jason Boatright The Kansas City Star Nursing homes across the United States routinely give anti-psychotic drugs to residents with dementia to control their behavior, despite regulatory prohibitions on this misuse of drugs as “chemical restraints." Jason Boatright The Kansas City Star jQuery(document).ready(function () { mi.leadAssets.init(); }); Health Care Overmedicated in Kansas: Human Rights Watch says nursing homes among worst nationally By Andy Marso And Kelsey Ryan amarso@kcstar.com kryan@kcstar.com LinkedIn Google+ Pinterest Reddit Print Order Reprint of this Story $(document).ready(function () { mi.articleShareTools.init({ nextLinkedin: '7634', nextPinterest: '7712' }); mi.socialSharingScroll.init(); }); February 07, 2018 07:00 AM Kansas is one of six states spotlighted in a new report on the overuse of anti-psychotic drugs to sedate nursing home residents. The report compiled by Human Rights Watch notes Kansas’ status as one of the states with the highest percentage of nursing home residents on the drugs, which are not approved to treat dementia and can have dangerous side effects. “There’s a number of states, Kansas among them, that have a very high proportion of residents being given these drugs without an appropriate diagnosis,” said Hannah Flamm, a Human Rights Watch fellow who worked on the report. Human Rights Watch said it visited 109 facilities, including 20 in Kansas, for its report, “They Want Docile: How Nursing Homes in the United States Overmedicate People with Dementia.” The other facilities were in Texas, California, Illinois, New York and Florida. jQuery(document).ready(function () { mi.renderNewsletterIframe.init({ container: '#newsletter-signUpWidget', url: 'http://x.email.kansascity.com/ats/url.aspx?cr=663&wu=174,http://x.email.kansascity.com/ats/url.aspx?cr=663&wu=180,http://x.email.kansascity.com/ats/url.aspx?cr=663&wu=176' }); }); Never miss a local story. Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access. SUBSCRIBE NOW jQuery(document).ready(function () { mi.calltoActionCtrl.init(); }); The group’s researchers interviewed dozens of nursing homes residents, family members, attorneys, advocates, government officials and nursing home administrators and employeesIn 24 facilities the researchers were “asked to leave shortly after arriving” and at others the staff tried to keep them from interviewing residents, in some cases saying the residents were not competent to consent to interviews. The federal government launched a campaign in 2012 to curb nursing homes’ use of anti-psychotic medicationsHuman Rights Watch analyzed Medicare data and found that all states have had at least some reduction between 2011 and 2016, but Kansas was toward the bottom of the pack in how much it improved its rates, going from about 23.8 percent to 18.2 percent. The Star reported on Kansas nursing homes’ over-medication problem in a November story that included a database of the rates of use for individual facilities. On average, 20 percent of all Kansas long-term nursing home residents received an anti-psychotic medication at some point in 2016, tying it for the highest rate in the country with Oklahoma and Mississippi. And it could become a more prevalent issueThe number of older Americans is expected to double by 2060, which will put a bigger strain on nursing homes and care facilities in the coming years, particularly since the number of people with Alzheimer’s is expected to triple to 15 million by 2050. Physical restraints not allowed The rise of anti-psychotic use began decades ago, when nursing homes stopped using physical restraints to keep residents under controlNursing home representatives say the medications are used out of concern for residents’ safety, not as a convenience for staff. Katie Smith Sloan, the president and CEO of LeadingAge, said her group’s member homes, which are non-profits, tend to have higher staffing levels and that several “were recognized as exemplars in the practice of non-med management of dementia.”

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