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Volunteer advocates pushed three legislative priorities, including bill to require regular dementia training for EMTs

Chicago, March 1, 2022 – Hundreds of volunteer advocates from across the state urged state lawmakers to pass legislation to help Illinoisans affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia during the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter’s virtual Week of Action last week. As a result, one key bill, House Bill 4388, which will ensure EMTs and paramedics receive regular dementia training, passed the House last week with an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 98-11-2. The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

According to Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter Executive Director, Delia Jervier, “We were thrilled with this result. During our Alzheimer’s Week of Action, we saw just how powerful the voices of grassroots advocates can be.  Dozens of legislators signed on as co-sponsors for our Alzheimer’s legislative initiatives, and the dementia training for paramedics legislation overwhelmingly passed in the House!  Telling our stories truly matters – and is making a difference in the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.

State Representative Margaret Croke, the House sponsor of HB4388 stated, “It is important for us as advocates to tell our stories and contact our representatives to tell them why treatment and training are so badly needed. I would like to thank all the advocates for taking part in this year’s Alzheimer’s Association Week of Action. I know many of us are in this fight because of
own personal experiences. It is so critical that we all continue to volunteer whenever possible to keep pushing progress forward.

Despite a shortened state legislative session in Illinois this year, the Alzheimer’s Association is pursuing an ambitious legislative agenda focused on dementia training for professionals who interact with people living with Alzheimer’s or a dementia. Besides HB 4388, other bills include:

  • SB 3707 to ensure home and community-based care providers, through the Community Care Program, receive baseline annual dementia training since so many people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia rely upon these services.
  • SB 2993/HB 4367 to ensure direct-service workers continue to receive annual dementia training in home health agencies, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or any other provider who advertises services targeted toward people living with a

During the Week of Action, advocates for the Alzheimer’s Association made nearly 1,000 contacts with their state legislators through e-mails, phone calls, and social media posts.

About 230,000 Illinois residents are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. Another 381,000 are serving as unpaid family caregivers. The cost of serving Illinoisans living with Alzheimer’s and dementia on the Medicaid program reached $1.7 billion in 2020, and that number is expected to increase more than 23 percent by 2025.