In recent years, the volume of calls to the 24/7 help line for the Alzheimer’s Association has increased. The common denominator is families calling in asking for assistance with a loved one with a form of dementia and the requests are for information on trained caregivers who can assist their loved ones with dementia.  We must understand that when this disease is diagnosed in families, there is no specific training for the family members at all and eventually, this disease takes its massive toll on all family members and caregivers alike.  The burn out among caregivers when providing care to a person with dementia is off the charts.  Many family members are the main caregivers. A simple instance might be a spouse that is 100% cognitive providing care for the love of his life because she has been diagnosed with what might be dementia. Women are more prone to dementia than men.  

Up until now, here in Illinois, there has been no mandated dementia training requirements in the home care industry.  In the past, agencies have shown DVDs and handouts on this disease regarding dementia but there was no requirement to provide official dementia training.  

Because the demand for assistance is being driven by the rise in diagnoses of seniors with this disease, the Alzheimer’s Association initiated a bill stating that there should be official training for health care entities named in the bill.  See below for link to entire act and inserts relative to the entities that fall under this act and the requirements that are now mandated and regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health. This is a giant step in the right direction for health care. This new act will ensure that our seniors can be cared for by qualified individuals trained specifically to deliver compassionate and knowledgeable dementia care. 

(410 ILCS 406/15) 

Sec. 15. Applicability. Programs covered by this Act include, but are not limited to, health care facilities licensed or certified by the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Act; Nursing Home Care Act; Home Health, Home Services, and Home Nursing Agency Licensing Act; and Hospice Program Licensing Act. This Act does not apply to physicians licensed to practice medicine in all its branches. Staff with direct access to clients with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia hired after the adoption of rules implementing this Act shall complete a minimum of 6 hours of initial training in the first 60 days of employment using an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias services curriculum compiled by the Department, except as provided in subsection

  • (c).
    • (c) Subsection (b) shall not apply to the following:
      • (1) staff who received at least 6 hours of comparable training in compliance with licensure or certifies training requirements.