Grateful for long-term care bill

April 19, 2024

We are grateful for legislation with bipartisan support, primarily sponsored by Sen. Mantzavinos and Rep. Johnson, to ensure our residents of long-term care facilities receive quality care and live their lives with dignity. Our organization is comprised of families who are passionate about promoting legislation to improve transparency, accountability and best-in-class care for Delaware seniors both in the community and facilities. House Bill 300 requires all assisted-living facilities maintain accreditation from an independent accrediting organization approved by the Department of Health and Social Services, facilities that provide dementia services maintain a certification from an independent accrediting organization and defines dementia care services and secured dementia care unit in Delaware code.

Delaware is home to 22,000 residents aged 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Currently in Delaware, standalone dementia-care services are not defined in Delaware Code and are not regulated. Support for these residents, their caregivers, as well as providers in the community and staff in facilities is critical to the safety of those living with dementia.  

Accreditation of facilities provides a valuable external perspective of performance against nationally recognized standards. It provides a framework for facilities to develop strategies to address the most complex issues and identify key vulnerabilities in the resident care experience, according to the Joint Commission. Nine states and Washington, D.C., currently use this process to ensure quality care specifically at assisted-living facilities.

Recently, I spoke with an executive director at an assisted-living facility in Missouri regarding the benefits of becoming accredited. His facility consistently ranks among the top communities in the nation as determined by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Senior Living ratings. It also obtained a Great Place to Work certification, and accreditation has helped with worker retention. He noted investing in training of staff as required in the accreditation process not only provides quality care for residents but also makes their employees feel valued.  

I also spoke with the associate director of assisted living community accreditation at the Joint Commission. She explained the reasons for creating the assisted-living and memory care accreditation are due to the acuity changes in the residents at facilities, and for both resident and staff safety. Here are some highlights:

  • Joint commission sets up systems that show “what good looks like” for modules based on literature reviews and on insights from a technical advisory panel
  • Address performance trends proactively to prevent events rather than a look back on events that occurred
  • Individual facilities benefit by not having to research best practices on their own as they will have access to aggregate data
  • Standards provided are observable and proven to impact care.

We hope the assisted-living industry in Delaware embraces performance improvement and learning best practices to provide a better environment for their residents and workforce. As the fastest-aging state in the nation, we should strive to be a leader in providing exceptional care for our residents and support those who care for them.

Candace Esham
Delaware Elder Care Advocacy Coalition
  • A letter to the editor expresses a reader's opinion and, as such, is not reflective of the editorial opinions of this newspaper.

    To submit a letter to the editor for publishing, send an email to Letters must be signed and include a telephone number and address for verification. Please keep letters to 500 words or fewer. We reserve the right to edit for content and length. Letters should be responsive to issues addressed in the Cape Gazette rather than content from other publications or media. Only one letter per author will be published every 30 days. Letters restating information and opinions already offered by the same author will not be used. Letters must focus on issues of general, local concern, not personalities or specific businesses.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter