Connecticut has taken a big step in requiring that nurses and doctors are mandated to have training in recognizing and treating dementia, authorizes a plan to build dementia-capable programs and creates a portal for background checks on employees who work with the elderly.
Connecticut Senate Bill 827 adds continuing medical education training on Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia for nurses and physicians in the state, according to a recent article from McKnight’s Senior Living, “New state laws emphasize dementia training, background check database access.” This is good news for the 78,000 people living with the disease in the state. The goal is to give these medical professionals the resources they need to identify the signs and symptoms of dementia in the patients they are caring for.
Effective January 1, nurses renewing their licenses are required to take two contact hours of training or education about diagnosing and treating cognitive or mental health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, delirium, related cognitive impairments and geriatric depression. And physicians who are applying to renew their licenses may count toward their training requirements two hours of continuing medical education in these areas.
“With no cure for Alzheimer’s, it is imperative that we detect the signs of this disease earlier, enabling us to improve the quality of life of those with this disease,” said state Sen. James Maroney (D), who co-chairs the state Aging Committee. “This legislation makes great progress towards ensuring just that,” he added, noting that the state has the seventh oldest population in the U.S.
The new law also authorizes an update of the Connecticut Alzheimer’s Plan to build dementia-capable programs. Under the law, the executive director of the state Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors is to create a working group to find any issues in the implementation of a task force’s recommendations and to make recommendations on best practices for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia care.
Connecticut’s governor also signed into law Senate Bill 832. This legislation mandates that the state Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors provide a portal on its website with links to publicly available databases, and the professional licensure verification database maintained by the state Department of Public Health (used for background checks of those who work with the elderly).
“Elder abuse and criminal action against those with disabilities are unacceptable, and the public should be aware who those perpetrators are in order to protect their family and friends from future act of crime against our most vulnerable populations,” commented state Senator Tony Hwang.
In addition, the new law expands the Department of Public Health’s background check program for those working in the long-term care field. In the past, people who had been convicted of certain crimes against older adults were not included in the program. Those who have been convicted of other crimes are no longer permitted to work in long-term care facility.
Reference: McKnight’s Senior Living (July 22, 2019) “New state laws emphasize dementia training, background check database access”