Ohio task force recommends new dementia training requirements

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Memory care communities in Ohio would face new employee training requirements, and “respite care” would get a new definition, if a task force's recommendations become law.

The 15-member Ohio House of Representatives Task Force on Alzheimer's and Dementia, led by state Rep. Dorothy Pelanda, a Republican, includes elected officials, advocates and others, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The suggested changes were part of the group's first report, issued in July after members heard testimony from more than two dozen people last year. The recommendations could find their way into legislation later this year, Pelanda told the newspaper.

The dementia training recommendations call for memory care unit supervisors and caregivers to undergo eight hours of initial instruction and for indirect caregivers to undergo four hours. Topics that would be addressed include communication, pain assessment, medication management, family dynamics, managing challenging behaviors, and triggers of dementia symptoms.

Half of the training could be completed by video or online work. Employees also would be required to complete two hours of additional training every year, the Dispatch said.

The task force also suggested defining respite care using the National Institute on Aging definition — short-term relief for family caregivers that is provided at home, in a healthcare facility or at an adult day center, the newspaper reported. Currently, Ohio law sometimes refers to respite care as a service for people with cognition issues, Pelanda said, and such a definition could affect funding.

The task force plans to make additional recommendations related to how people with dementia are cared for in the Buckeye State.

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