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May 28, 2014

New Guidelines for Dementia Special Care Unit Regulations

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On May 22, 2014, the Department of Public Health ("DPH") issued Circular Letter: DHCQ-14-5-615 Guidelines for Dementia Special Care Unit Regulations, which:

  1. Explains the training required by 105 CMR 150.024 for staff members of a licensed facility that holds itself out to the public or advertises itself as having a Dementia Special Care Unit ("DSCU") and provides the deadline for completion of such training.

  2. Explains the process by which a facility may request additional time to implement the physical plant modifications required by 105 CMR 150.029.

  3. Provides the disclosure form that every nursing home that holds itself out to the public or advertises itself as having a DSCU must submit to the DPH by June 21, 2014 in accordance with 105 CMR 150.028.

Details:

Training

In order to comply with 105 CMR 150.024, staff members must receive eight hours of initial training on at least the following topics:

  • A basic introduction to the foundations of Alzheimer’s and other related dementias;
  • Communication and connecting with residents with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias;
  • Techniques and approaches to care for persons with Alzheimer’s and dementia;
  • Person centered care;
  • Understanding the needs of and working with families;
  • Dietary needs of residents with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias;
  • Social needs and appropriate activities in the care of residents with Alzheimer’s and other related dementia;
  • Recognizing and responding to caregiver stress; and
  • Preventing, recognizing, and responding to abuse and neglect of residents with Alzheimer’s and other related dementia.

DPH requires training to be conducted at least partially through interactive learning techniques such as experiential exercises, small group discussion, role play, or case studies. The Department is not requiring facilities to use a specific training program at this time. However, it does require that all facilities train their staff by the following dates:

Facilities with a DSCU must have training plans in place no later than June 21, 2014.

  • Staff members already providing care must be trained no later than August 22, 2014.
  • Staff members that begin providing care between May 22, 2014, and June 21, 2014, must be trained no later than August 22, 2014.

All other facilities must have training plans in place no later than the following dates:

  • Staff members already providing care must be trained no later than November 22, 2014.
  • Staff members that begin providing care between May 22, 2014, and August 27, 2014, must be trained no later than November 22, 2014.

If a facility’s staff members received initial training prior to 105 CMR 150.024 being enacted, the facility must retain documentation that the training met the requirements of 105 CMR 150.024. In addition, all staff members must receive an additional four hours of ongoing training each calendar year.

Physical Plant Requirements

Facilities that do not meet the physical plant requirements of 105 CMR 150.029 may request extra time to meet the requirements, but must do so by June 21, 2014, using the standard waiver form. All requests must include a description of compensating features the facility has installed in the meantime and documentation showing that granting a waiver will not affect the health or safety of the facility’s residents or limit the facility’s ability to provide care. All facilities must comply with the physical plant requirements by February 28, 2015.

Disclosure Form

Every nursing home that holds itself out to the public or advertises itself as having a DSCU must submit a disclosure form to the DPH by June 21, 2014. Going forward, such nursing homes must submit disclosure forms annually on March 1. Disclosure forms must be submitted annually regardless of whether the nursing home’s information has changed. A copy of the disclosure form is attached to the Circular Letter.

About the Author

Andrew Levine

Andrew Levine is a partner and head of the firm's regulatory practice. He provides regulatory guidance, business and corporate legal services, as well as strategic advice to healthcare clients. You can find him on Google+ and LinkedIn.

Samual Hoff contributed to this alert.

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