Theresa's Law aims to protect seniors living in Adult Foster Care (AFC) facilities currently being neglected, abused emotionally and physically, and exploited due to deficiencies in education of Direct Care Workers (DCWs), transparency: residents' rights and AFC designation, oversight and enforcement of existing regulations, staffing standards, and accountability by AFC facilities.
Unfortunately, Public Act 218 does not do enough to ensure residents are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve nor does it ensure they receive exemplary care to promote quality of life. Theresa's Law is the first step at solidifying Public Act 218 to a level that will make a real difference in the quality of care our precious seniors receive in AFC facilities. It will also benefit DCWs, as it will provide them with the necessary education and resources to be successful. Below are the proposed changes outlined in Theresa's Law. Please know that some of the wording may change once an official bill is written and introduced.
Staff Educational Requirements
DCWs must be properly trained and educated to understand the physical, emotional, and social needs of the population they are hired to care for in AFC facilities.
- Licensee must keep a written training plan for all workers and keep a record of all training & education requirements, including details of course completed (where, when, how, date, instructor) and documentation of passed written and performance based competency tests. This information must be provided at the next license renewal period.
- Unsupervised resident contact is prohibited prior to completion of all required Continuing Education (CE) classes.
- In addition to on-the-job training, all DCWs must complete the following CE courses within 60 days of hire and staff must demonstrate understanding by passing both a written and competency based performance test:
- Empathy - simulation of the aging process. Course must provide staff the experience of sensory challenges related to the aging process and the emotional challenges that come with the loss of independence, home, and relationships. This class must be in-person every 2 years.
- Dignity & Sensitivity - Course must include basic techniques for effectively and compassionately communicating with the elderly, how to handle and defuse difficult situations in a respectful manner. This class must be in-person and completed every 2 years.
- Resident Rights - Course must instruct staff of all rights granted to the resident. Must be completed yearly.
- Medication Administration - class must include appropriate medication handling, including avoiding the use of drugs for sedative purposes. Only staff members who have successfully completed a CE medication administration course that includes the passing of a performance based competency test may administer oral; topical; eye, nose, and ear drop prescription medications, and epinephrine injections for insect bites or other allergies, and insulin injections. ONLY EXCEPTION is for those staff members who are a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN) in the state of Michigan. Must be completed yearly and in-person.
- Medication/Insulin - only staff members permitted to administer insulin injections must, in addition to the medication administration course, complete a Department approved diabetes patient education program that must be completed yearly and in-person.
- Understanding Dementia - must teach the fundamentals of dementia, including how to recognize signs of the disease, effects on resident, effective communication and proper care standards of residents with dementia. Class must be taken yearly (in-person or online).
- Death & Dying - course must provide basic understanding of end of life issues and the impact on the resident, including appropriate behavior and communication with the resident and resident's family. Course must be taken yearly and can be online.
- Yearly Training/Education Assessments - Facility must conduct yearly training assessments, separate from tests taken upon completion of a CE course, to ensure the staff members recall what they have learned during training & education courses and are implementing this knowledge appropriately while providing care.