Illinois departments to monitor prescription drug use in nursing homes

SPRINGFIELD - A program has been launched to help prevent the dangerous and inappropriate use of prescription drugs to subdue nursing home patients, according to Illinois officials.

On Thursday, both the Department of Public Health and the Department of Human Services announced the program, calling it "an unprecedented opportunity to change the drug prescribing culture in nursing homes."

Both agencies are collecting data from nursing home pharmacies weekly.  Medications are monitored by patient, facility, and regional, which allows the state to see which facilities vary from accepted medical standards in their prescribing practices.  The reports will help the nursing home industry stop using drugs as chemical restraints.

Department of Human Services Secretary Michelle Saddler says it's important to monitor how prescription drugs are used with vulnerable nursing home residents.
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