Joint Commission, Alzheimer’s Association announce collaboration to improve quality and safety in dementia care

Jan. 27, 2022

The Joint Commission and the Alzheimer’s Association announced that they are collaborating to help improve quality and safety in dementia care in nursing, skilled nursing, and assisted living facilities.

The organizations will partner to evaluate ongoing scientific issues, standards and performance measures, and quality improvement initiatives, as well as to provide education programs and presentations, and share data with the public.

An estimated 6.2 million Americans 65 and older lived with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2021. Overall, 48% of nursing home residents have Alzheimer’s or other dementias, while 37% of short-stay (less than 100 days) nursing home residents have Alzheimer’s or other dementias, and 59% of long-stay (more than 100 days) residents have these conditions. Furthermore, Alzheimer’s and dementia deaths have increased 16% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is important for The Joint Commission to collaborate with the Alzheimer’s Association, the nation’s leading voice on dementia and other memory-related issues, to help improve care for patients and residents in nursing care centers and assisted living communities,” said Gina Zimmermann, Executive Director, Nursing Care Centers and Assisted Living Community Services, The Joint Commission. “Initially, our collaboration provides a unique opportunity to recognize nursing care centers that are meeting state-of-the-art standards and implementing best practices for dementia care. I look forward to expanding this collaboration to assisted living communities that provide memory care.”

The first part of the collaboration is an update to The Joint Commission’s Memory Care Certification (MCC) requirements, effective July 1, 2022. MCC is an add-on certification program available to nursing care centers (NCC) accredited by The Joint Commission. The program recognizes NCCs that focus on the care of patients and residents with memory-impacting conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias — enabling these residents to remain engaged in their environment and to function at the highest cognitive level possible.

The update includes 10 new and four revised requirements that reflect current scientific evidence and best practices in long-term care and memory care. The requirements align with the Alzheimer’s Association Dementia Care Practice Recommendations and were finalized after analyzing the results of a Standards Review Panel (SRP) and public field reviews. Participants included clinicians, administrators, and advocate organizations.

Additionally, as part of the collaboration, The Joint Commission will provide accreditation and certification information for inclusion in the Alzheimer’s Association Community Resource Finder (CRF), a database of dementia and aging-related resources for individuals, families and caregivers seeking programs and services targeted by zip code.

Joint Commission release