Hi-Desert Medical Center’s Continuing Care Center has earned recognition for safely reducing the off-label use of antipsychotics by the American Health Care Association’s (AHCA) Quality Recognition Program.

According to the AHCA, a large number of the individuals in skilled nursing centers are living with some type of dementia. For these individuals and as illness progresses, behavior often becomes a key form of communication. This can be challenging for families and staff, and too often, antipsychotic medication is used in an attempt to modify behavior. The use of antipsychotic medication to treat behavior associated with dementia is not supported clinically and is considered off-label by the FDA, which issued a “black box” warning for the elderly with dementia.​ Antipsychotic drugs are expensive, costing hundreds of millions of Medicare dollars. They also increase the risk of death, falls with fractures, hospitalizations and other complications resulting in poor health and high costs.

Michelle Amdahl, the Continuing Care Center’s director of nursing and interim administrator, explains staff at the CCC works diligently to reduce the use of antipsychotics, and the process begins upon admission. “Staff works closely with the resident’s physician, the pharmacy and an interdisciplinary team to gradually reduce dosages, with the goal of discontinuing these drugs altogether,” she says. “Our goal is always quality of care and the best home-like environment for our residents. Decreasing the use of any unnecessary medications in the long-term care setting adds to the quality of life of our residents.”

The intent of the AHCA Quality Initiative goal to safely reduce the off-label use of antipsychotics is to encourage alternative strategies for responding to challenging behavioral expressions in persons living with dementia before considering medications and to ensure that antipsychotic medications, when used, are as appropriate and safe as possible.


Joshua Tree National Park is renowned for its dark night skies, making it an ideal place for astronomy and stargazing.  Weather permitting there will be an exceptional opportunity for learning and viewing tonight.  Joshua Tree National Park, in partnership with Celestron Telescopes, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), American Park Network, and the Joshua Tree National Park Association, will host an astronomy event on Saturday, November 23. This event will take place in the Oasis Visitor Center parking lot in Twentynine Palms. The day’s events will begin with information tables with equipment for visitors to view and use from 10:00am until 3:00pm. In the evening, beginning at 6:30pm until 10:00pm, telescope viewing will take place in the Oasis Visitor Center parking area. This event is free and open to the public. Entry to the park is not included with this event.


As the holidays approach, the Basin-Wide Foundation is again sponsoring their “Adopt-a-Child” Program. Managing Editor Tami Roleff tells you how to help…

Children in the Child Protective Services program, through no fault of their own, are often found during the holidays in temporary homes or foster care. The Basin Wide Foundation sponsors an “Adopt a Child” program that gives residents the opportunity to be their Santa and to bring smiles to many little faces. It’s easy; you’ll be assigned a child or family, and given their first name, age, and any special requests. You’ll be asked to spend between $35 and $40 per child you “adopt.” Drop off the gifts by December 13 at the Basin Wide Foundation office, located inside the California Welcome Center in Yucca Valley. For more information, or to “adopt” a child, call 760-365-7219.  Reporting for Z107.7, this is managing editor Tami Roleff.


Andy Patel, who is with Coldwell Banker Roadrunner Realty, has earned the Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Certification, from the National Association of REALTORS®. REALTORS® who earn this certification know to work with active duty military buyers and sellers, as well as veterans. The certification provides NAR’s members with resources to accommodate current and former military service members at any stage of their military career. To earn the MRP certification, REALTORS® participate in readings, a one-day course, and webinars. For more information about the MRP certification, visit http://www.militaryrelocationpro.org