MASSACHUSETTS – Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein joined House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo to announce Governor Deval Patrick has signed a bill into law aimed at improving dementia care. The legislation establishes minimum care standards at dementia special care units and nursing homes and will provide dementia-specific training required for direct care workers, activity directors and supervisors in traditional nursing homes and special care units.
“I commend the Patrick-Murray Administration for the signing of this bill that will improve the quality of life for many citizens in our state,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “Offering dementia-specific training to care providers will ensure that patients receive the high quality care that they need and deserve.”
“I’m pleased Governor Patrick has approved this bill that will provide better specialized care and facilities for patients and their families,” Representative Reinstein, a sponsor of the bill said. “Establishing specific training will better prepare care workers to help patients while the implementation of minimal care standards will ensure high quality services are provided in the Commonwealth.”
The Department of Public Health will now work with the nursing home industry and Alzheimer’s Association to identify minimum safety and quality standards for dementia care units in long-term facilities, including guidelines for the physical design of the units that can allow for dementia-specific activities such as anti-wandering methods and a “therapeutic environment.” In addition, they will create the specialized training requirements for care workers dealing with dementia patients or employed at such special care facilities.
Alzheimer’s affects 120,000 Massachusetts residents and an estimated 350,000 caregivers/family members across the Commonwealth. According to the Alzheimer’s Association many of those with the disease will eventually require long-term care in a nursing home.
The preceeding article and photograph were provided by the Office of Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein.