Lawmakers want all direct caregivers to be licensed

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Iowa lawmakers are considering legislation that would require direct care workers in nursing homes to be licensed and meet training standards. The rule would also impact caregivers in home care, assisted living and other community based settings.

A state Senate committee has already voted to approve the legislation, but its backers are still awaiting debate by the full Senate, the Associated Press reported. The Iowa chapter of AARP has been vocal in its support for the legislation.

In a Des Moines Register editorial, AARP spokesman Kent Sovern wrote that the proposed legislation would affect over 70,000 people, including nursing home workers and in-home caregivers. According to the editorial, caregivers would be expected to have a minimum amount of basic training and be able to specialize in areas such as mental health, end-of-life care, oral care and Alzheimer's.

Increased training is believed to boost the quality of care in long-term care environments, and federal reimbursement is increasingly moving toward being based on quality. Providers can learn more about payment and quality at the McKnight's Online Expo on March 21 and 22. For free registration, visit the sign-up page.

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