Legislation would mandate special training for dementia care workers

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Dementia advocates in Massachusetts are hoping to fix a loophole that allows nursing homes to advertise dementia units without requiring special training for workers.

The proposed legislation would require all licensed nursing homes with dementia patients to offer specific training for employees who interact with the residents. The law also would require nursing homes to provide activities and programs that decrease troublesome dementia behaviors such as wandering and agitation, the Boston Globe reported.

Advocates have tried unsuccessfully to pass similar legislation in the past, including calls for higher staffing levels in dementia units. Forty-four states require specialized training for nursing home dementia unit workers, according to a 2005 federal report.