Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dementia care rules finalized for Massachusetts nursing homes

Workers in nursing home dementia care units will have to receive eight hours of initial training and four additional hours annually, under final rules state regulators adopted Wednesday.

The regulations, approved nearly two years after Massachusetts lawmakers passed legislation mandating minimum standards for these specialized units, also require that the facilities have at least one “therapeutic activities director” dedicated to the dementia unit to ensure meaningful and appropriate activities for residents.

The rules close a loophole that had allowed nursing homes to advertise dementia units without any specific training for their workers, specialized activities for residents, or safety measures in place, such as high fences, to prevent residents from wandering.

“These regulations have really been a labor of love for thousands of people affected by this difficult disease,” James Wessler, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, said in a statement.

Few changes were made in the dementia care standards since they were unveiled last August by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. They were finalized Wednesday by the Public Health Council, an appointed body of academics and health advocates that sets public policy

Dementia care rules finalized for Massachusetts nursing homes - Health & wellness - The Boston Globe

by Bernard Hamill

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