A new bill from Sen. Audrey Gibson would require bolstered training about dementia and Alzheimer’s for some health care workers.
The legislation (SB 634), which was filed last week, would require some employees of nursing homes, home health care providers, hospices, assisted living facilities and adult day care facilities to complete at least one hour of Department of Elder Affairs-approved dementia-related training within 30 days of starting employment.
Current law mandates that all employees at these facilities receive “basic written information about interacting with persons with Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder” when they start work. Current law also dictates that people who work closely with Alzheimer’s patients receive one hour of training about the disease.
Gibson’s proposal would require employees who work directly with Alzheimer’s patients — or patients with related disorders — to complete at least 3 hours of approved training. The training must contain an overview of Alzheimer’s disease, information about related disorders and patient-centered care and information about dementia-related behaviors, among other things.
The bill would also require some care workers to receive 4 hours of approved continuing education on the topic each year.
The proposed legislation would also strip providers of their licenses if their employees fail to complete the training.
Other measures in the bill would require the Department of Elder Affairs to develop a curriculum for the training or approve a separate training program. The department would also be required to maintain a list of people approved to lead the training sessions.
In order to complete the training, care providers would be required to earn a certain score on an assessment for each topic area included in the training.
An identical bill (HB 309) was filed in the House by Rep. Cord Byrd on Tuesday. The 2021 Legislative Session starts March 2.