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Massachusetts Must Implement Dementia Training Standards Faster, Advocates Say

November 25, 2013

Advocates for people with dementia say that Massachusetts must work faster to implement dementia-care training standards for nursing homes.

In July 2012, Gov. Deval Patrick (D) signed a law requiring direct-care workers who work in nursing homes to be trained in dementia care.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) was tasked with designing the minimum training standards by April 2013. But it did not unveil the standards until August, and they may not hold a final vote on the rules until 2014.

In a letter to the MDPH, the Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts and Vermont (AAMV) told regulators that this delay was unacceptable.

“There are tens of thousands of families who are impacted by the failure to have these regulations in place,” AAMV President James Wessler told the Boston Globe. “It’s not acceptable to delay any more.”

As currently constructed, the proposed training standards would require all Massachusetts direct-care workers in nursing homes — even nursing homes that do not offer specialized dementia care — to receive eight hours of initial training, and an additional four hours every year thereafter.

— by Matthew Ozga

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