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Caring for Nursing Home Residents with Dementia


  • Massachusetts wants to ensure nursing homes deliver high quality, person-centered dementia care.
  • Abt is developing trainings for all levels of nursing home staff, based on best practices and stakeholder input.
  • The training will enable nursing homes to deliver high-quality care to residents with dementia.
The Challenge

Studies indicate that dementia care in the United States is, generally, impersonal and fragmented. Massachusetts requires long-term care facilities to provide dementia care training to direct-care workers. The intention of the regulation was to address concerns that nursing homes that have specialized dementia care units don’t provide specific staff training, specialized activities, or safety measures to support that service. Abt is assisting the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s efforts to improve dementia care by implementing a sustainable, multi-faceted training approach.  

The Approach

The Abt Team will recruit 60 nursing homes across the Commonwealth. We’re bringing an evidenced-based, holistic, person-centered approach to the training that draws on current state, national, and association recommendations. It incorporates input from a panel of stakeholders representing an individual with dementia, a family caregiver, and individuals across a range of relevant agencies. The program includes leadership training for administrators and directors of nursing, master train-the-trainer for staff developers, staff training, and family focus groups.

The Results

From January to March 2021, Abt subject matter experts will deliver person-centered leadership, master, and staff training, and will conduct family focus groups. The trainings will enhance Massachusetts’ nursing homes’ ability to deliver on the promise of exemplary person-centered care for their residents with dementia. The Abt Team will administer annual pre- and post-program staff surveys to assess program impact on all levels of staff. Abt will also draft and deliver a status report and a final report to the Department of Public Health. Due to COVID-19, all events that had been planned as in-person will be held virtually.