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Medicare mandates to reduce chemical restraints

Times Union, June 1, 2012

On Wednesday, Medicare announced an initiative to reduce the use of antipsychotics drugs among dementia patients by 15 percent by the end of the year, using techniques like the one above. Federal officials said such drugs are dangerous for elderly patients with dementia—nearly doubling the risk of death —and are overused as a way to control difficult behaviors of nursing home patients. In fact, every two in five nursing home patients with dementia is given antipsychotics even though they have no diagnosed psychosis, said Dr. Sherry Ling, deputy chief of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, during a telephone news conference on Wednesday.