Illinois Mandates Education Relating to Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

It may not be new to any reader that the United States population is aging.  The aging of baby boomers is giving rise to the “graying of America”, with people age 65 and older expected to nearly double from where it is today to 95 million by 2060.  It may also not be surprising that the occurrence of dementia in individuals increases with age, however you may not be aware that the prevalence of dementia with age increases exponentially between the ages of 65 and 90, with dementia incidence doubling every 5 years from 65 to 90 years old.

Anticipating the significantly increased number of older adults with dementia who will require specialized care by family and healthcare professionals, the State of Illinois passed the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Services Code, effective May, 2019.  This regulation requires health care agencies, facilities and hospices to have a trained Alzheimer’s Services Supervisor who is responsible for the oversight of programs relating to these conditions and to provide significant training to new and existing staff on them as well.

Joliet Area Community Hospice (JACH) has responded to this new law, with Certified Dementia Practitioner Bonnie Leto, LSW as JACH’s new Alzheimer’s Services Supervisor.  A six-hour training for new employees and annual three-hour trainings for current employees began this summer.  JACH training curriculum covers understanding dementia, effective communication with individuals with dementia, assisting people with dementia in performing their activities of daily living, problem solving with individuals with dementia who exhibit challenging behaviors, and fundamentals of dementia care, safe environments, and managing the activities of individuals with dementia.

At JACH, Alzheimer’s Disease/advanced dementia is one of the top four diagnoses of the adults cared for in its hospice program. Hospice staff trained in this new curriculum will be able to more expertly care for patients with dementia, and will continue to be a valuable resource to family members and caregivers on how to best care for their loved one.

To learn more, please contact Joliet Area Community Hospice, the community’s choice for quality hospice, palliative care and grief support services and a proud United Way agency at 815-740-4104.

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