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Families’ experiences with memory care providers sought to inform future policy decisions

Caregiver and senior woman playing wooden shape puzzles game for dementia prevention
(Credit: Toa55 / Getty Images)

Following “significant” public conversation about memory care in assisted living, the Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter is soliciting feedback — both positive and negative — from resident families to share with policymakers.

Earlier this fall, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) ordered the state Department of Health Services and Adult Protective Services to launch an investigation into the agencies’ “unacceptable response” to complaints about a Mesa assisted living and memory care community where a resident was killed by her roommate. Hobbs also announced that her administration would prioritize developing comprehensive reforms that “crack down on bad actors” and strengthen accountability.

Hobb’s actions were in response to an Arizona Republic investigative series into assisted living communities in the state, which focused on the state’s response to complaints at Heritage Village. 

The Alzheimer’s Association chapter in Phoenix is hoping to use the experiences of families to help inform and guide lawmakers considering policy changes governing the sector. 

“We want to know what those facilities did really well, or what they didn’t do well,” Tory Roberg, Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter director of government affairs, told KJZZ. “And the reason why we’re asking for this information is because the Alzheimer’s Association is in a position where we have a seat at the policy table.”

Hobbs’ administration has been working on a legislative package that includes increasing fines based on the severity of an infraction, increasing state regulatory powers, implementing robust licensure requirements for assisted living providers, increasing regulation and certification of communities advertising memory care services, and creating a quality rating system for assisted living communities, skilled nursing facilities and other long-term care residential settings in the state.

“These healthcare facilities lack true accountability,” Hobbs said previously. 

An earlier effort to privatize annual inspections of assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities died in the legislature. A proposed bill would have created a third-party entity to conduct all inspections and complaint investigations and carry out survey duties for long-term care facilities in the states, and it would have increased state inspections to twice a year.

Source: McKnights Seniorliving

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