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Vainieri Huttle & Mukherji Bill to Improve Hospital Oversight of Dementia & Alzheimer’s Patients Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Raj Mukherji to ensure hospital staff is well-informed to deliver proper care and oversight for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia was approved Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-2365) would require hospitals to clearly note on a patient’s medical records whether they have dementia-related disorders.

“From supervising my mother’s health needs for years, I understand the unique level of care that Alzheimer’s patients require,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “This simple annotation will alert hospital staff to be more vigilant in their oversight of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia or other related conditions.”

“If a patient suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s is being treated for unrelated issues, hospital staff might not be aware of their underlying condition,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “This will help ensure medical personnel are well-informed, especially when a patient’s dementia or related disorder keeps them from being able to speak up for themselves.”

Specifically, the bill would require a health care professional or appropriate staff member to include a notation in a patient’s medical record indicating that the patient has an increased risk of confusion, agitation, behavioral problems, and wandering due to a dementia related disorder, if such notation is requested by the patient’s caregiver.

The notation may be included in the patient’s medical record at the time the patient is admitted to the hospital or to the hospital emergency department or when the patient is examined by a health care professional, and shall be prominently displayed in the medical record.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Human Services Committee. It will now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.