House Supports Legislation to Require Training In Care of Dementia/Alzheimer’s Patients

OKLAHOMA CITY (22 March 2017) – Medical professionals who care for senior citizens and dementia patients would be required to undergo specialized training each year, under legislation the state House of Representatives passed Wednesday.

House Bill 1620 by Rep. Cyndi Ann Munson, D-Oklahoma City, would direct the State Board of Health to develop rules requiring all medical and direct-care staff of state-licensed nursing and specialized facilities, adult day-care centers, assisted living centers, home health agencies and hospice agencies to complete a minimum of one hour of in-service training each year in Alzheimer’s and dementia-related care.

The curricula would have to include:

  • a description of the typical progression of the disease;
  • a review of common psychiatric and behavioral symptoms and how to approach them;
  • alternatives to physical and chemical restraints;
  • strategies for providing person-centered care; and
  • strategies for addressing social needs and providing meaningful activities for patients afflicted with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

HB 1620 was supported overwhelmingly in the House, 82-2, and will be referred to the Senate.

“I am so grateful to my colleagues for their support of House Bill 1620,” Representative Munson said. “I am overwhelmed by the support and interest in working together to make life easier for those who are affected by this disease, and their caregivers.”

Alzheimer’s is “a devastating disease” that affects many Oklahomans, she said. The State Plan, which was developed in 2009, has provided a guide for the Legislature to make addressing Alzheimer’s and dementia a priority. “It is my honor to serve on the Oklahoma State Alzheimer’s Caucus and continue the great work my predecessor, the late Rep. David Dank, championed for so many years during his legislative career,” Ms. Munson said.

An estimated 61,000 Oklahomans aged 65 or older had Alzheimer’s in 2015. Approximately $437 million in Medicaid funds were spent to care for low-income Oklahomans aged 65 and older who were living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia that year, ledgers reflect.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s and by 2050 an estimated 16 million will contract the disease. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in this nation. One-third of all seniors die with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, the association reports.


Media Director, Democratic Caucus
Oklahoma House of Representatives
(405) 962-7819 office
(405) 245-4411 mobile