A new law in Texas requires managers and caregivers at assisted living communities serving people living with dementia to complete four hours of dementia-related training and pass an exam about dementia, person-centered care, care-planning, activities of daily living, and common behaviors associated with dementia.
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services is required to begin working on implementation and interpretation of the HB 1673 on Sept. 1, and staff members will need to come into compliance by Dec. 31, 2024, Texas Assisted Living Association Vice President of Public Policy Carmen Tilton told McKnight’s Senior Living.
Direct care staff members and facility managers will be required to complete two hours of continuing education every year. And all other staff members — such as workers in the housekeeping, front desk and maintenance areas as well as other departments — will be required to complete training covering the basics of dementia, person-centered care and effective communication, and they also will be required to pass an evaluation demonstrating their understanding and dementia competency.
TALA 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. Tilton previously told McKnight’s Senior Living that HB 1673 would apply to almost every non-Alzheimer’s-certified assisted living community in the state and that the training topics can be completed under existing course hours.
Other states also recently have enacted dementia-related legislation, according to the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, the advocacy affiliate of the Alzheimer’s Association:
- In Illinois, SB 216 requires appointed public guardians to complete one hour of dementia training within six months of their appointments and every year after that.
- Also in Illinois, SB 1298 requires the Medicaid program to cover cognitive assessment and care-planning services for people who have symptoms of cognitive impairment, in an effort to help detect and diagnose the disease earlier.
- In Montana, HB 29 ends the involuntary commitment of people living with dementia to state psychiatric institutions. Individuals with a primary dementia diagnosis who have been involuntarily committed to the state hospital will be given first priority for admission into nursing homes. Also under the new law, by 2025, the state must formulate a plan to ensure the availability of community-based services for people with a primary diagnosis of dementia and must have a plan to transition people living with dementia in the state hospital into community settings.
- In Alaska, HB 39 provides $50,000 for the Dementia Awareness and Healthcare Capacity Program, to be used for outreach to rural and Indigenous communities and translation of awareness materials into commonly spoken languages.