The Eden Alternative® Receives Grant to Help Arkansas Optimize Medication Use

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Arkansas will benefit from grant-funded training focused on optimizing medication use through practices that put the person first. The Eden Alternative has received funding from the Arkansas Department of Human Services to deliver the 1-day workshop, which ultimately supports a major national effort to reduce antipsychotic medication use.

Evidence shows the ill effects of medication overuse in general, especially the prescribing cascade that occurs as new medications are added.

The Eden Alternative® has received funds from the Arkansas Department of Human Services to support the optimization of medication use for Arkansas nursing home residents. Funds will support the delivery of Optimizing Medication Systems and Usage, a 1-day workshop facilitated by a panel of clinical experts. Evidence shows the ill effects of medication overuse in general, especially the prescribing cascade that occurs as new medications are added. Unnecessary medications, specifically antipsychotics, are often prescribed in lieu of identifying underlying needs first. Optimized medication systems, therefore, are driven by the individual’s preferences and life goals first. This involves everything from streamlining medications to rethinking all of the systems and practices related to administering them.

“Optimizing Medication Systems and Usage provides a common sense approach to creating treatment plans that reflect the needs and routines of each person. In doing so, medication numbers and administration times can be significantly reduced, and people are able to reach their optimum potential and fully engage with life on their terms," says Dr. Al Power, geriatrician and award-winning author of Dementia Beyond Drugs.

A recent Colorado grant project piloted Optimizing Medication Systems and Usage with positive outcomes. The project resulted in a 16% reduction in the average number of scheduled medications per individual per day. The number of people receiving psychotropics, antidepressants and anxiolytics were reduced by roughly 40%. The average amount of time spent each day administering medications was reduced by 39%, creating time to strengthen relationships.

“I enjoy working in this community with the new mindset because it really allows me to practice the art of nursing. Since I am not tied to a medication cart the entire shift, I am able to interact with residents, family, and other staff members,” says Jeffrey Michael, LPN, a pilot project participant.

Consistent with person-directed practices, the project also calls on clinicians to engage all stakeholders in conversations about changing medication systems for the better.

"The wise use of medication is crucial to providing good care,” says Chris Perna, CEO of The Eden Alternative. “This workshop offers a framework that brings together all members of the care partner team, including the care recipient, to optimize medication use and maximize well-being for all."

Forty-five Arkansas nursing homes will have the opportunity to experience Optimizing Medication Systems and Usage on November 16, 2015 as a pre-conference option for the Arkansas Healthcare Association’s Fall Conference in Little Rock. Registration is now open.


About The Eden Alternative
A leader in the culture change movement for the past 20 years, The Eden Alternative is an international, nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization that provides education and consultation for organizations across the entire continuum of care. As a person-directed care philosophy, it is dedicated to creating care environments that promote quality of life for Elders and those who support them as care partners. To learn more, go to

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