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Illinois signs bill for dementia care regulations

August 22, 2016
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Illinois is the next state to mandate dementia care certification and minimum training guidelines to keep facilities honest about the quality of care they are providing. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2301, also called the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Services Act, last week.

Among the new rules are a minimum of six training hours for direct-care staff within the first 60 days of hire and/or certification by “an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias services curriculum certified by the Department,” the bill states.  The Department will certify only programs that include, at a minimum, the following topics: “understanding dementia, effectively communicating with individuals with dementia, assisting individuals with dementia in performing activities of daily living, problem solving with individuals with dementia who exhibit challenging behavior, fundamentals of dementia care, safe environments, and managing the activities of individuals with dementia.”

The new law gives the Illinois Department of Public Health the authority to form additional regulations and training guidelines for facilities that offer care services for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The legislation combats a growing problem of misleading advertising in an environment where memory care centers seem to be popping up in every neighborhood.

Far from targeting only nursing homes, the bill’s reach also includes assisted living, life plan communities, hospice communities, home care and home nursing agencies, and others.

“We needed to change state regulations to mandate certification, that any facility advertising their expertise in dementia care was actually certified to be offering those services,” Andrew Kretschmar, senior manager of advocacy at the Alzheimer’s Association Chicago office, told WMBD-TV, Peoria.

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