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Governor Patrick Signs Legislation to Improve Quality of Care for Dementia Patients

Press Release

Location: Boston, MA

Governor Deval Patrick today joined advocates and legislators to sign H. 3947, "An Act Providing for Dementia Specific Training for Certain Employees of Long-Term Care Facilities." The legislation will improve the quality of care for dementia patients by establishing regulations to specify minimum safety and quality standards for dementia care units in long-term facilities, as well as requiring dementia-specific training to staff in long-term facilities.

"This legislation will improve the quality of life for patients, and ease the burden on families, too," said Governor Patrick.

"Appropriate care and a well-trained staff can allow people with dementia to live without the anxiety and/or over medication that is the fate of too many and give them a chance to have a creative and enjoyable experience," said Senator Pat Jehlen. "I think it is really important for people to have confidence that their relatives or people they care about are getting this appropriate level of care."

"With over 120,000 people in the Commonwealth with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, it is really important that special care programs that take care of our loved ones are really prepared to work with these patients with understanding and compassion," said Representative Alice Wolf. "This bill will also make available to families information about what is really special about special care units."

The Department of Public Health will be charged with implementing the following:

Dementia-specific training for all direct care workers, activities directors and supervisors of direct care workers in both traditional nursing homes and dementia special care units.
Activities programs in dementia special care units that provide dementia-specific activities.
Guidelines for dementia special care unit physical design including, but not limited, to anti-wandering methods and promoting a therapeutic environment.

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