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Massachusetts Nursing Homes Cited for Improperly Advertising Dementia Care

September 22, 2015

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has issued citations to more than 50 nursing homes for improperly promoting their ability to provide dementia care, the Boston Globe reported September 16.

The 52 facilities receiving citations “must remedy the violation cited against them either by modifying their advertising, or complying with all of the dementia special care unit requirements in the regulations,” wrote Sherman Lohnes, director of the MDPH Division of Health Care Quality.

Massachusetts law requires that direct-care workers, their supervisors, and activities directors employed in nursing homes receive dementia-specific training.

But recent reviews of the state’s 400+ nursing homes show that many facilities do not satisfy these terms, even though they publicly claim to offer specialized dementia care.

In February, the Globe conducted a random survey of a dozen Massachusetts nursing homes and found that they were struggling to comply with the new law.

Then, in July, a more extensive study, conducted by the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, found that more than half of Massachusetts’s nursing homes that claim to offer dementia-specific care have failed to comply with the training law.

The MDPH’s recent citations stemmed directly from the Alzheimer’s Association study.

“The overwhelming majority of nursing homes that are providing dementia special care units are doing a really good job,” James Wessler, president of the Alzheimer’s Association, told the Globe. “It’s a tough industry, and there are many dedicated staff out there who are working tirelessly.”

— by Matthew Ozga

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