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SPRINGFIELD –Under a new initiative sponsored by Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) in conjunction with the Alzheimer's association, care will be more tailored to the needs of patients with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

“Caregivers need to be trained on how to best care for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s, especially concerning medical and sensitivity issues that impact these patients,” Fine said. “The current regulations, which do not require this specified training, need to be changed so that people living with these conditions have the highest quality care possible.”

Over 230,000 people in Illinois are living with Alzheimer’s. Many take part in the Community Care Program, which allows seniors with or without these conditions to receive in-home and community-based service from their own homes. Employees that provide this service are currently required to complete 12 to 24 hours of training, but training specific to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients is optional.

Fine’s measure would require employees and contractors with the Department of Aging Service who provide direct service to individuals in the Community Care program to complete at least two hours of training on Alzheimer’s and dementia prior to the start of their employment. Fine believes that condition-specific training is essential to ensuring adults living with these conditions are able to be cared for and better understood.

“We need more specialized training for caregivers of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients,” Senator Fine said. “By requiring providers to complete training, I am hopeful that people living with these conditions will be able to receive the best care possible.”

Senate Bill 3707 passed the Senate last Wednesday. It now goes to the House for further consideration.