Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Is Your Organization on Track to Meet Our Antipsychotics Goal?

As 2013 winds down, it’s time once again to take stock of progress on our Quality Initiative goals. The end of the year is always a great time to reflect on where we’ve been and to plan our next steps.  AHCA recently released results for the most recent reporting period for which national data are available, Q2 of 2013. Where does your center stand today?  If you are among those organizations that have successfully met the goal of a 15% reduction in off-label use of antipsychotic medications – we applaud you! Be sure to pause to acknowledge your team for their hard work and celebrate that success.  If you are still working on getting there, don’t give up – change takes time.  In either case, there is more work to do!  It’s important to assess where you are, to set your next milestone and determine what else you need to do to get there.

A great place to start is the AHCA Quality Initiative website, which offers members guidance and helpful resources to assist you on your journey.  On our antipsychotics page, be sure to check out the brand new addition to our member tool box, A Guide to Reducing Antipsychotic Drugs While Enhancing Care for Persons with Dementia: A Competency-Based Approach (available exclusively to members).  This guide frames the actions needed to create change from a competency-based perspective.  To improve care for persons with dementia and reduce antipsychotic use, AHCA has identified the competencies that staff would exhibit in their daily work.  The framework can help you self-assess to identify and target areas that may need additional attention.  It can also support your QAPI process, providing a structure for your Quality Committee to use in reviewing and considering opportunities for Performance Improvement Projects (PIPs).  And last but not least, the guide directs you to topic-specific educational resources, exercises, and practical tools that can help address gaps and challenges you identify.

Another important resource to remember is the consumer fact sheet, FAST FACTS: What You Need to Know About Antipsychotic Drugs for Persons Living with Dementia (available in English and Spanish).  With the holidays approaching, you will likely have more interaction with family and friends whose loved ones are living in your center.  Their visits provide a great opportunity to initiate meaningful conversations about your efforts to provide person-centered care for persons with dementia and to help educate families about the concerns surrounding antipsychotic medication use in this population.  The fact sheet can be a great starting point for this conversation.

Last, but far from least, AHCA/NCAL has a new tool to help you enhance your staff’s ability to provide person-centered caring for individuals with dementia. We are pleased to offer the CARES® Online Dementia Care Training, a program offering basic and advanced levels of training for direct care staff, and the Alzheimer’s Association® essentiALZ® certification program. The training program is an interactive online format that engages staff and provides them with added knowledge about the fundamentals of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. It also offers them practical strategies for improving care and meeting the needs of persons with dementia.  The essentiALZ certification program recognizes staff and documents their added knowledge and skills in this area.  For more information and a special, member-only 10% discount, see our resource sheet on our antipsychotics webpage.

We commend you for the hard work you are doing and encourage all of you to keep it up! By seeking to understand and respond to behavior as communication, your efforts are enhancing care and improving lives for residents living with dementia.

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