Boston Globe (August 14, 2013): Dementia Care Standards Unveiled for Nursing Homes

Publication Date: 
Wed, 08/14/2013

Massachusetts nursing homes that advertise specialized Alzheimer's and dementia care units will be required to provide workers with at least eight hours of initial training to care for such residents, and four additional hours annually, under proposed rules unveiled Wednesday by state regulators.

The rules would also required all licensed nursing homes, and not just those with special dementia units, to provide dementia-specific training for all direct-care workers, which include medical directors, nurses, social workers, dietary aides, therapists and activities staff.

Regulators said it was important to mandate the training at all facilities because roughly 60 percent of nursing home residents have some form of dementia.

"In nursing homes with both traditional units and [special care units], direct care staff may float between the units to cover vacant shifts or help during an emergency, and thus all workers must be trained how to provide optimal care to all residents," Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, director of the state public health department bureau that regulats nursing homes, wrote in a memo to the Public Health Council.

The council, an appointed body of academics and health advocates, met Wednesday to review the proposed rules.