Mike Fasano’s specialized care for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related disorders bill advances

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Senator Mike Fasano’s SB 694,which establishes standards of care for adult day care centers, passed the Senate Health Regulation Committee on January 25th. This is the second of three committee stops in the Senate. It has one more committee hearing remaining before it will be ready for a floor hearing. The House companion, sponsored by Representative Richard Corcoran, is moving forward in that chamber as well.

The legislation is a “truth in advertising” bill that will mandate any facility that markets itself as a daycare facility that offers specialized care to persons with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related disorders meets certain standards of staffing, staff training and other criteria for patient care. It does not mandate all daycare centers to seek this accreditation if they do not put themselves out as providers for this unique population.

“These standards will ensure that individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders receive dignified and appropriate care, support and intervention,” Senator Fasano states. “By enabling them to remain in their homes and the community they feel comfortable in, premature and potentially costly institutionalization will be avoided. Most importantly they will be able to stay a home longer.”

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs estimates that there are over 523,000 Floridians with probable Alzheimer’s, and projects that there will be a 64% increase in the number of Floridians suffering with Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. Additionally, as a 2010 MetLife National Study of Adult Day Services study reports, 47% of participants in adult day care centers across the country suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

“With our elder population being the second largest economic engine in the state we owe this acknowledgement of need and commitment to provide appropriate care to all Florida citizens affected by Alzheimer’s disease,” Senator Fasano states. “In addition, Florida acknowledged the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on the safety and security of its citizens with the establishment of Florida’s Silver Alert by Executive Order in October, 2008 and codified into law in 2011.”

With the spotlight turning on the needs of this vulnerable population, family members and friends of those stricken by a dementia-related disorder are seeking caring facilities that are properly certified to meet the unique needs of the individual. The designation “Adult Day Care-Specialized Alzheimer’s’ Services” will help them choose the proper place to enroll their loved one.

With the passage of this legislation, Florida has the opportunity to be the first state in the nation to establish a specialty license for adult day care centers providing specialized services to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. A state with such a large population of seniors and others with dementia-related disorders should lead the way and hopefully become a model for other states to follow.

The legislative session continues until early March.

Via Greg Giordanao, Senior Legislative Aide to Senator Fasano. Ron Radcliffe contributed to this report.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.