woman with dementia sitting in chair
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Some assisted living community administrators and staff members would be required to undergo training on providing care for residents with cognitive impairment under a proposed bill in the Texas Legislature.

House Bill 1673, introduced by state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake) would implement training requirements for staff members at assisted living communities that provide care for residents living with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. 

Those requirements include four hours of training as well as passage of an exam on Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, person-centered care, assessment and care-planning, activities of daily living for residents with memory impairment, and common behaviors and communications associated with residents with impaired memories. Direct care staff members would not be able to provide care to memory care residents without completing the training and exam.

Administrative staff members also would be required to undergo training and pass the exam, with additional training in administrative support services related to medical information management and the provision of medically appropriate education and support services, staffing requirements to facilitate collaboration among employees, the establishment of a supportive and therapeutic environment for memory care residents, and care transition coordination. 

Community staff members who do not provide direct care — including workers in the housekeeping, front desk and maintenance areas as well as other departments — would be required to undergo training and pass an exam on Alzhiemer’s disease and related disorders, person-centered care, and common behaviors and communications associated with memory care residents.

The bill also calls for two hours of annual continuing education on best practices related to the treatment of and provision of care for memory care residents. 

The Texas Assisted Living Association worked with the bill’s sponsor to ensure that the requirements are both “reasonable for providers” and result in more informed and collaborative caregiving for our residents with Alzheimer’s and other similar diagnoses.” TALA Vice President of Public Policy Carmen Tilton told McKnight’s Senior Living that HB 1673 would apply to nearly every non-Alzheimer’s certified assisted living community in the state, and that these training topics can be completed under existing course hours.

Other states implementing dementia training requirements

Other states have passed or are contemplating similar moves.

Florida legislators are considering CS/SB 1182, which would establish the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Training Act as well as universal Alzheimer’s disease and related disorder training requirements for assisted living communities, nursing homes, home health agencies, adult care centers and other personal care providers. 

Colorado passed legislation last summer mandating dementia-specific training for professional caregivers in assisted living communities and some other long-term care settings. The rule establishing minimum dementia training requirements for direct care staff takes effect Jan. 1.

Earlier this year, a Missouri task force on Alzheimer’s care delivered a final report to Gov. Mike Parson (R) with recommendations for improving residential and home- and community-based provider licensure requirements for dementia care.

In 2021, Illinois became the first state in the nation to require Alzheimer’s diagnosis training for healthcare professionals. Senate Bill 677 required any healthcare professional who has continuing education requirements to complete at least a one-hour training course per license renewal period on the diagnosis, treatment and care of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The requirement took effect Jan. 1, although senior living providers said long-term care staff members in the state already were undergoing dementia training before the bill was signed into law.