With more than 5 million people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, there’s a growing need for robust training standards for health care professionals in the special needs of people with cognitive impairment. For example, though 64% of nursing home residents have dementia, only 23 states have laws prescribing training requirements for direct care staff in nursing homes and, of those, only one state requires staff to pass competency examinations. Only ten states require dementia training for law enforcement.
These are among the findings of an in-depth 50-state survey of statutes and regulations that Justice in Aging conducted with the support of the Alzheimer’s Association. We looked at dementia training requirements for professionals in a variety of health care and community settings and found wide variation among states in both the amount and the content of required training. We compiled our findings in a five-paper series, Training to Serve People with Dementia: Is our Health Care System Ready? We also presented a webinar outlining the major findings of the study and offering an initial roadmap for advocates working to address training gaps. You can view it on Justice in Aging’s Vimeo channel after August 26.