Improving Access for Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s
Improving Dementia Care in Senior Care Options
Alzheimer’s Public Awareness Funding
Action Alert Link:
We are advocating for an additional $250,000 in state budget funding for Alzheimer’s public awareness for FY20.
In line with the recommendations of the existing Executive Office of Elder Affairs Alzheimer’s State Plan, and the CDC Healthy Brain Initiative, we support state funding for a Public Awareness Campaign on the warning signs of Alzheimer’s and related dementia. We were successful in securing this line item for the past 3 years, totalling $250,000. Please support state budget funding of an Alzheimer’s Public Awareness Campaign.
The Alzheimer’s Public Awareness Campaign has specifically targeted underserved African-American and Latino communities across the Commonwealth who are disproportionately impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Here is what we have accomplished with your dedication and focus on the issues.
Mass Alzheimer's & Dementia Act (H.4116)
For a rundown of this bill, please click here.
Massachusetts State Alzheimer’s Plan
In response to this impending crisis, Governor Deval Patrick directed Elder Affairs (Elder Affairs), in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association MA/NH Chapter, to oversee the development of a Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders State Plan. In response, these two agencies convened a statewide Advisory Committee, consisting of people with Alzheimer’s, family members, and representatives from state and local health and human service agencies, councils on aging, universities, hospitals, public safety agencies, and professional caregiver associations. Elder Affairs and the Alzheimer’s Association sought to gather first-hand the concerns and needs of Massachusetts citizens affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Four listening sessions and seven focus groups were held at locations throughout the state, involving more than four hundred people representing a wide variety of personal experiences, skills, professions and expertise. From these sessions, five major areas of concern were identified:
- Access to Services
- Caregiver Support
- Diagnosis, Treatment and Care Coordination
- Public Health Safety and Awareness
- Quality of Care
Link to State Plan Document: https://www.alz.org/documents_custom/ALZ_State_Plan_Mass.pdf
While this was a significantly beneficial undertaking we need to ensure this work continues. That is why we are advocating for the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Project Act (S.1239/H.1223), which would create an office for Alzheimer’s disease at EOHHS to coordinate government efforts and ensure that appropriate resources are maximized and leveraged.
Silver Alert (2010)
As outlined in the MA State Alzheimer’s Plan, Silver Alert Law was passed by the Legislature, and implemented by Department of Public Safety. Silver Alert, a state based program existing in many states in the US, is a public notification system used to disseminate information about missing persons in order to aid in their quick recovery, specifically older adults with dementia or other cognitive impairments who may wander. This system allows local searching to begin immediately upon the receipt of a missing person report, waiving any waiting period.
Approximately 10,000 officers are participating in mandatory statewide Dementia training that was created by the MA/NH chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in partnership with the MA Municipal Police Training Committee.
MA Silver Alert Law: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleII/Chapter6A/Section18L
2012 legislation mandated minimum dementia care standards for nursing homes, inclusive of Dementia Special Care Units (DSCUs). Includes training, therapeutic activities, physical design, and public disclosure.)
In addition, regulations were adopted regarding Assisted Living residences that focus on dementia care training requirements and environmental upgrades.
See the Nursing Home Regulations PDF for more information.
Acute Care Act (2015)
This bill created an advisory committee to address one of the last frontiers of dementia care, the hospital setting. The committee met for 9 months and released a comprehensive set of recommendations as found below:
- Hospitals should have an operational plan in place, available to the public and Department of Public Health upon request, to identify dementia and/or delirium in the ED and/or inpatient settings and to create a specialized care plan in the event that delirium, dementia, or both are detected.
- Pursuant to the CARE Act, hospitals should develop a process to ensure that designated caregivers are involved in hospital processes, specifically transfer and discharge planning, when an individual has dementia.
- Hospitals should also develop Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI) measures and processes, available to the public and Department upon request, that outline the hospital’s operational plan effectiveness and include how clinical and relevant non-clinical staff receive routine training in the care of individuals with Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their caregivers.
The Committee proposes that, within the next three years, the top three recommendations become the standard of care in all Massachusetts hospitals serving an adult population. The Committee further recommends that after three years, this standard of care will be an expectation of all Massachusetts hospitals serving an adult population and will be incorporated into future survey and Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI) processes.
To view the full report visit: www.mass.gov/dph/alzdementia