MA lawmakers debate provision of care in assisted living

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Nurses who work in assisted living communities in Massachusetts would be able to provide limited healthcare services under a bill being considered by state lawmakers.

S. 2139, sponsored by Sen. Patricia Jehlen, is designed to enable residents to receive injections, have dressings replaced, have catheters placed or removed, and have ointment or drops applied, without having to hire a nurse, go to a doctor's office or move to a skilled nursing facility. Under terms proposed in the legislation, communities would have to submit operating plans to the state that detail the types of care to be offered and the qualifications of the staff members who would administer the services.

The Massachusetts Assisted Living Facilities Association maintains that the bill, if passed, would allow the growing senior population to live more independently, according to Senior Living Residences President Robert F. Larkin, who helped develop one of the state's first assisted living communities and is a founding member of Mass-ALFA, says that the lack of regulatory oversight over the nurses would make providing such services unsafe, however, according to the media outlet.

State lawmakers reportedly will decide the bill's fate by the end of this week.

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