TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Richard J. Codey and Senator Ronald L. Rice that would improve care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia was signed into law today.
“I watched as Alzheimer’s took over my father’s life, and I am committed to efforts that could spare others from experiencing that kind of devastation to a love one,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex and Morris). “Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the only disease among the top ten causes without an effective means of prevention, treatment, or cure. It is imperative to act now.”
The law (S-2960) will amend current law to require the training of homemaker-home health aides in the specialized care of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. The training program would include the causes and progression of the disease and methods to deal with the specific problems encountered in the care of patients with Alzheimer’s. Specifically, this would include communication with patients, their psychological, social, and physical needs, and safety measures necessary for patients with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.
“Ensuring that home health aides are adequately trained to meet the unique challenges of caring for patients with Alzheimer’s disease is critical to supporting the high quality care that these patients deserve,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex). “When aides are knowledgeable of the issues they can expect to face in the course of their work, and know how to communicate with patients who are suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, they can perform their work more confidently and better support their patients at home.”
It is estimated that 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. At the current pace, the number of individuals with the disease is expected to reach 16 million by 2050 in the United States and over 115 million globally.
“Alzheimer’s disease places enormous emotional, financial and physical strain on families who are caring for their loved ones and cannot be ignored,” added Senator Codey. “Any efforts like this one, which aims to improve the delivery and quality of care through proper training of homemaker-home health aides, are worthy of our immediate attention and consideration. I am pleased the Governor signed this measure into law.”
The bill cleared the Assembly with a vote of 74-0 and in the Senate with a vote of 35-0. The law takes effect on the first day of January 2017, except the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety and the New Jersey Board of Nursing may take any anticipatory administrative action in advance for its implementation.