OHIO VALLEY — Ohio ranks 43rd in the nation in efforts at reducing anti-psychotic drug use.
According to AgingOhio.gov., America’s seniors average 14.4 new prescriptions a year versus 2.3 for the general public and about 20 percent receive contraindicated medications.
Adverse drug reactions accounted for 17 percent of all hospital admissions. If ranked, that would place adverse reactions to medications as the fourth-leading cause of death for seniors.
Efforts are under way nationwide to emphasize non-pharmacological alternatives for nursing home residents over anti-psychotics. Recommendations include consistent staff assignments, increased exercise or time outdoors, monitoring and managing acute and chronic pain, and planning individualized activities.
When Michelle Gilmore, director of nursing at Overbrook Rehabilitation Center, received news the facility was in the top 25 percent for anti-psychotic reduction and would be receiving an award for their success, she was quite pleased.
“I am excited,” she said. “We worked hard to lower anti-psychotic use for our residents.”
She said that while there are times when anti-psychotics are necessary, every effort is made at diagnosing the behavior before medication is given.
Gilmore pursues the motto of “Adapt the environment instead of changing the resident” and believes this attitude is largely responsible for reducing residents anxiety, thereby reducing the need for medication.
“We try to identify the cause of behaviors and then treat the cause rather than the behavior.”
She said patients often just need time to adjust and get to know the staff.
“And for the staff to know them; everyone has their way of doing things, their routine and their likes and dislikes. We try to understand what makes them feel most comfortable and in doing so reduce the need for anti-psychotics,” Gilmore said.
Maximum Data Set (MDS) coordinator Dhronda Hoover agrees. Hoover is responsible for evaluating the residents and producing a care assessment for each patient at Overbrook as required by the state of Ohio.
She said she is pleased with the efforts of Overbrook’s staff to make the facility feel like home. Situated in a residential area in Middleport helps the facility seem more home-like on the outside, while the facility itself is uncluttered and bright, with a welcoming entry and dining rooms.
Many residents have some of there own possessions; they are encouraged to bring their own quilts or blankets, family photos, and other personal items.
Decision-making concerning care includes family members, and their insight into the patient’s attitudes and behaviors before coming to Overbrook, are important tools in helping residents adjust to their new environment.
Visitors are welcome to dine with residents and participate in the many activities at the center, including Bingo, crafts, holiday parties and church services.
“I am honored to work for a facility that puts so much effort into making residents feel like they are at home,” Hoover said.
Both Gilmore and Hoover agree that understanding patients’ needs and concerns is key to diagnosing and providing the appropriate treatment.
Contact Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155 EXT.2551