Illinois Legislature Passes First-In-The-Nation Dementia Training For EMTs

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Contact: Nancy Rainwater
VP, Communications
847.324.0373
nrainwater @ alz.org

Springfield, IL, April 4, 2022 – Last week, after a unanimous Senate vote, the Illinois legislature passed House Bill 4388, an initiative of the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter to ensure that all emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics receive regular dementia training.  This first-in-the-nation training requirement will help paramedics recognize the signs and symptoms of dementia as well as be able to effectively communicate with people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

“I’m proud that Illinois is taking this important step to protect one of our most vulnerable populations – those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias,” said State Senator Celina Villanueva, the Senate sponsor of House Bill 4388. “Ensuring our medical professionals know how to approach these situations and appropriately care for these individuals will lead to better health outcomes.”

“The fight to end Alzheimer’s is personal for me. I watched my grandfather, a former Navy pilot and prosecutor, succumb to this disease, and I know how important it is to recognize the symptoms of someone suffering,” said State Representative Margaret Croke, the House sponsor of the legislation.  “This bill trains paramedics to understand the signs and communicate effectively to ensure better experiences for patients in already stressful situations.”

House Bill 4388 requires that EMTs and paramedics dedicate one (1) hour of their existing training requirements prior to relicensure to education on recognizing signs and symptoms of dementia, the care and treatment of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as effective communication strategies with this vulnerable population. 

“Once again, Illinois is leading the nation in becoming a dementia-capable state, providing better care for people with Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.” said Delia Jervier, Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter Executive Director.  “This training is especially critical because paramedics are on the front lines when it comes to protecting those living with dementia and as the size of the U.S. population age 65 and older continues to grow, so will the number and proportion of Americans with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.” According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2022 Facts and Figures report released in mid-March the number of Illinois residents with Alzheimer’s is expected to increase 13% by 2025.

The chief sponsors of House Bill 4388 were Senator Celina Villanueva  and Representative Margaret Croke.  The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both chambers – the Illinois Senate on a vote of 53-0-0 and the Illinois House on a vote of 98-11-2.  It now heads to Governor Pritzker’s desk for his signature.

About the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter: The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s research, care and support.  Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.  Since 1980, the Chapter has provided reliable information and care consultation; created supportive services for families; increased funding for dementia research; and influenced public policy changes.

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