The United States government announced that it would launch a campaign against the abuse of antipsychotic drugs and the misdiagnosis of schizophrenia among nursing home residents.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will launch an investigation this month at select nursing homes to determine if psychiatric disorder diagnoses are correct.
The agency said evidence has accumulated over decades that some nursing homes misdiagnose residents with schizophrenia or prescribe them antipsychotic drugs despite dangerous, even life-threatening side effects.
No resident of a nursing home should be given an antipsychotic with schizophrenia or inappropriately, Health Secretary Javier Becerra said in a statement. “The steps we are taking today will help prevent those mistakes and give families peace of mind.”
According to a government report last year, some nursing homes may avoid oversight for unnecessary use of antipsychotic medication by classifying residents as schizophrenic, even if they do not exhibit symptoms of a disorder that is extremely rare. It is believed that less than 1% of the population suffers from schizophrenia, which is characterized by delusions, hallucinations, and thought disorders.
In 2012, the federal government began tracking antipsychotic use in nursing homes, but only among residents not diagnosed with schizophrenia, something that may affect the facility’s rating in public databases.
According to federal statistics, the supply of antipsychotics to nursing home residents has dropped by more than 20% in recent years.
However, a November report from the Department of Health’s inspector general showed a sharp increase in the number of residents who reported having schizophrenia without a related diagnosis from 2015 to 2019, reported 99 nursing homes across the country. that at least 20% of its inhabitants are afflicted. From disorder
“The number of undiagnosed schizophrenia diagnoses has increased, and relatively few were concentrated in nursing homes in 2019,” the report said.