LANSING, Mich., May 4, 2023 — State Reps. Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) and Helena Scott (D-Detroit) introduced House Bills 4517 and 4518, respectively. The two-bill package would establish a fall prevention training program for unlicensed personnel working in nursing homes and ensure that employees are compensated for their time in training. The bills were introduced with bipartisan support and referred to the House Committee on Health Policy.
“As a physical therapist, I have, unfortunately, treated my fair share of fall-related accidents, and it is truly heartbreaking, because many were avoidable,” Rogers said. “While many of our licensed health-care professionals in nursing homes do receive training, we want to ensure that unlicensed caregivers are also trained to keep our loved ones safe and mobile. Caregivers and health-care providers should work together to reduce the risk of falling and prevent devastating injuries, especially in nursing homes.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year — resulting in more than 32,000 deaths. The CDC also states that falls are the leading cause of injury and injury death in the 65-plus age group.
“Falls are preventable, and they do not have to be an inevitable part of aging,” Scott said. “It is important that individuals who are receiving care can get the best treatment and attention possible. Providing such training to unlicensed caregivers will ensure that more employees are highly prepared to give the necessary care to our friends and family members so that these harmful accidents can be avoided and that their health can be prioritized.”
Scott is the chair of the bipartisan Michigan Legislative Care Caucus, and Rogers is a member of the caucus. The mission of the Care Caucus is to create a space in the state Legislature to address issues that impact caregivers and those receiving care.