An independent proposal made last week, if accepted, could offer a new, optional certification for health care organizations that offer memory care services—a growing niche of senior housing that serves a population expected to triple by 2050, according to a recent report by Alzheimer’s Disease International.
The proposal was made by The Joint Commission, the non-profit accreditation and certification organization that currently certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the U.S.
In its proposal, for which it has requested public comments, the Joint Commission outlines specifics for nursing and rehabilitation centers to receive accreditation for the care of people suffering from memory issues including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Among the requirements are specifics about interior spaces, noise levels, outdoor access, safety, patient monitoring and others.
Ongoing staff training is also underscored, along with access to educational resources for all providers of memory care.
The proposal was met with positive reception by the Alzheimer’s Association, which worked with the Joint Commission on the proposal.
“The Joint Commission has worked to add dementia requirements through [the existing] standard, but this separate proposal would give [communities] the opportunity to become accredited in memory care,” says Sam Fazio, director of special projects for the Alzheimer’s Association. “What this gives are some specifics. It goes above and beyond what the accreditations usually do.”
Each section of the proposal includes actions where care providers can find action items and direction for more information on how to provide memory care specifically, as well as additional training.
“This is a great opportunity for the Alzheimer’s Association to be able to help define dementia capable care,” Fazio says.
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Comments are due to the Joint Commission by October 16. If approved for release, organizations could receive the memory care certification within the Joint Commission’s nursing and rehabilitation accreditation program.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker