Polypharmacy in Skilled Nursing Facilities

Engaging six skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in a learning collaborative focused on improving the quality of care by reducing the incidence of polypharmacy among long-stay residents.

Polypharmacy refers to the consumption of an inappropriately high number of medications, including both prescribed or over-the-counter medications or dietary supplements, and is associated with increased risk of adverse events and drug interactions, with the risk increasing as the number of medications increases. Frail elders are particularly vulnerable to the harms of polypharmacy, which can lead to preventable poor outcomes like falls with injuries such as hip fractures, cognitive impairment, hospitalization, and mortality.

The purpose of this initiative is to improve the quality of care in skilled nursing homes by reducing the incidence of polypharmacy. Through a year-long grant initiative and associated learning collaborative, six skilled nursing facilities will design and implement new processes and practices to reduce polypharmacy among current and future long-term care residents.

Facilities will commit to addressing a specific polypharmacy problem, tackling a specific group of drugs known to be drivers of polypharmacy (e.g., proton pump inhibitors, antihypertensives, and cholinesterase inhibitors). Each facility will be asked to initially choose at least two medication categories from a list provided by UHF.

The learning collaborative and its participants will work to design and implement new processes and practices to reduce polypharmacy. UHF staff and Collaborative faculty will support SNF participants by planning and implementing all Collaborative meetings and webinars; providing information on best practices and organizational process improvements related to deprescribing; providing tools and resources to assist participants in data collection, planning and implementing interventions; and providing technical assistance to teams.

The participating facilities include:

  • Cobble Hill Health Center
  • Eger Health Care and Rehabilitation Center
  • Gurwin Jewish Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
  • Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale
  • Jamaica Hospital Nursing Home
  • Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home

The Polypharmacy Learning Collaborative is made possible through support from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

March 1, 2022
Number of Grantees
Focus Area
Quality and Efficiency