Specialized Dementia Care Programs

Experts suggest that there are currently somewhere around 5.5 million Americans of all ages who suffer from Dementia-related diseases. These conditions require very knowledgeable medical personnel due to the increased needs the person may need. Dementia and illnesses can cause loss of motor function,
memory impairment and even at times cause negative behaviors that affect others around them. When
deciding to have a specialized memory care program in your ALF the Maryland Office of Health Care
Quality has issued the following regulation for facilities to comply with:

.30 Alzheimer’s Special Care Unit.
A. Written Description. At the time of initial licensure, an assisted living program with an Alzheimer’s special
care unit shall submit to the Department a written description of the special care unit using a disclosure form
adopted by the Department. The description shall explain how:
(1) The form of care and treatment provided by the Alzheimer’s unit is specifically designed for the specialized
care of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia; and
(2) The care in the special care unit differs from the care and treatment provided in the nonspecial care unit.
B. At the time of license renewal, an assisted living program with an Alzheimer’s special care unit shall submit to
the Department a written description of any changes that have been made to the special care unit and how those
changes differ from the description of the unit that is on file with the Department.
C. An assisted living program with an Alzheimer’s special care unit shall disclose the written description of the special care unit to:
(1) Any person on request; and
(2) The family or resident’s representative before admission of the resident to the Alzheimer’s special care unit
or program.
D. The description of the Alzheimer’s special care unit shall include:
(1) A statement of philosophy or mission;
(2) How the services of the special care unit are different from services provided in the rest of the assisted
living program;
(3) Staff training and staff job titles, including the number of hours of dementia-specific training provided
annually for all staff by job classification and a summary of training content;
(4) Admission procedures, including screening criteria;
(5) Assessment and service planning protocol, including criteria to be used that would trigger a reassessment of
the resident’s status before the customary 6-month review;(6) Staffing patterns, including the ratio of direct care staff to the resident for a 24-hour cycle, and a description of how the staffing pattern differs from that of the rest of the program;
(7) A description of the physical environment and any unique design features appropriate to support the
functioning of cognitively impaired individuals;
(8) A description of activities, including frequency and type, how the activities meet the needs of residents with
dementia, and how the activities differ from activities for residents in other parts of the program;
(9) The program’s fee or fee structure for services provided by the Alzheimer’s special care unit or program as
part of the disclosure form that is required in Regulation .10 of this chapter;
(10) Discharge criteria and procedures;
(11) Any services, training, or other procedures that are over and above those that are provided in the existing
assisted living program; and
(12) Any other information that the Department may require.
E. The Department shall restrict admission or close the operation of a special care unit if the Department
determines that the facility has not demonstrated compliance with this regulation or the health or safety of residents
is at risk.

Top Takeaway:
• Written Description. At the time of initial licensure, an assisted living program with an Alzheimer’s
special care unit shall submit to the Department a written description of the special care unit using a
disclosure form adopted by the Department. The description shall explain how:
(1) The form of care and treatment provided by the Alzheimer’s unit is specifically designed for the
specialized care of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia; and
(2) The care in the special care unit differs from the care and treatment provided in the nonspecial
care unit.
This Memory Care unit should not just be an area to hold residents suffering from a terrible illness. This unit shall be a community in itself with dignified meaning for residents who need specialized care. You should include services based upon each individual resident needs as well
as having fruitful programming of activities

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