In Massachusetts, long-term care facilities and Dementia Special Care Units (DSCUs) are required to provide eight hours of initial dementia-specific training for staff, and four additional hours of training per year. Medical directors, nurses, social workers, dietary aides, therapists, activities staff, and other direct-care staff are required to receive this specialized training in dementia care.

Staff Training
To ensure the best possible care and quality of life for residents with dementia, the required training must:
  • Include an introduction to the foundations of dementia and dementia care.
  • Be at least partially interactive.
  • Be appropriate for the population served by the facility.
  • Reflect current standards and best practices in the treatment of dementia.
  • Include an evaluation that each staff member must take and pass.

Written documentation of staff training must be maintained by each facility and made available to the Department of Public Health.

Therapeutic Activities
Facilities that have DSCUs are also required to have at least one therapeutic activities director on staff to ensure that residents are engaged in meaningful and appropriate activities. The activities are to be individualized, suited to residents’ needs and interests, and designed to improve or maintain their abilities and functioning.

Designing Dementia-Friendly Environments
Requirements for DSCUs’ physical environments are also detailed. Units are to be resident-centered and focused on supporting residents’ visual, lighting, spatial, recreational, and safety needs.
These regulations come as amendments to 105 CMR 150.000, which was developed with input from the Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts and dementia care and advocacy organizations and facilities. The regulations were finalized by the Massachusetts Public Health Council as a result of Massachusetts HB3947, which was adopted in 2012. This act directed the Department of Public Health to initiate regulations to implement HB3947.

Facilities with DSCUs are required to provide training within 90 days of the effective date. Facilities without DSCUs are required to provide training within 180 days of the effective date. The regulation was approved on February 12, 2014.

Learn More
Read 105 CMR 150.000 [PDF]. You can also browse the following articles to learn more about the regulations:
We Can Help!
Dementia care units across the US use our Dementia Capable Care training program because it empowers them to raise the standard for memory care and maximize function, safety, independence, and quality of life for residents with dementia. We also offer dementia consulting services to help develop and enhance therapy and activity programs, and to structure physical environments to support residents’ physical and emotional well-being.
Tailoring Training to Your Facility’s Needs
Our training can be tailored to the unique needs of your facility, staff, and residents. With our train-the-trainer option, select staff can be certified to teach the Dementia Capable Care training program to other staff on a continuing basis. We have numerous public programs coming up throughout the US, and customizable on-site training is also available.