Education News

by Laurie Cashman, Director of Education

Opportunities Abound in the New Year

Well, it’s been quite a year at Mass-ALA and as we begin to wrap up 2022, I like to think of the past year as one of transition, new opportunities, and even a transformation, of sorts. We’ve said goodbye to some colleagues and welcomed others. With each change, as difficult as it may be, comes opportunity; opportunity to learn more about ourselves and each other, opportunity to grow in ways unexpected, and opportunity to improve ourselves and the world around us. 

The planning of educational events in 2023 provides so many opportunities to explore new ideas and to implement positive changes. As we prepare to do this, it’s important to consider the ways in which we made the most of new opportunities during the past year. An idea that had been tossed around in my mind for quite a while was the updating of the Mass-ALA Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement Tool and the subsequent development of the training program that accompanies it. The updated “Tool” was rolled out, and the QA/QI training was launched on September 13th with resounding success! Due to it beginning later in the year, we were able to offer only three modules of the full four-module program that has been developed. As we plan for 2023, we have already set the dates for each module of the program, with all four modules being offered. Please see below for details on the training program, which will be offered virtually. This training, along with the implementation of quality assurance measures, can be an effective tool to help assisted living residences to prepare for recertification surveys by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs.   


Module 1: March 16th, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Requirments of the Full Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement Program

– General Overview of the Updated QA/QI Tool

– Quality Assurance Evaluation/Monitoring

– Assisted Living Regulations and Performance Requirements/Expectations

– Staff Training and Education Requirments

Module 2: June 6th, 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Plant Operations and Maintenance in Assisted Li

– General Overview of the QA/QI Tool

– Plant Operations and Maintenance, Staff Training Requirements

– Assisted Living Regulations and Building Maintenance

– Ordinary Recurring Maintenance and Repair of Building and Safety Systems

Module 3: September 7th, 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Dining in Assisted Living

– General Overview of the QA/QI Tool

– Dietary Requirements, Safety Issues, and Staff Education

– Assisted Living Regulations and Resident-Centered Dining

– Ordinary Recurring Kitchen Maintenance, Permits, and Training of Staff

Module 4: December 12th, 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Medication Management in Assisted Living: SAMM and LMA

– General Overview of the QA/QI Tool

– Dietary Requirements, Safety Issues, and Staff Education

– Assisted Living Regulations and Resident-Centered Dining

– Ordinary Recurring Kitchen Maintenance, Permits, and Training of Staff

As you consider registering for one – or all – of these modules, I’d like to suggest that you attend Boot Camp as a precursor. Taking Boot Camp prior to the QA/QI Training will enable participants to have a basic understanding of the operations of an assisted living community and will provide a framework upon which to build the details of QA/QI. Where Boot Camp leaves off in providing an extensive overview of important operational information, the Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement Training Program will pick up and provide the details in a systematic approach that will be relevant, easy to follow, and immediately applicable to the operation of an assisted living residence.  In 2023, Boot Camp will be offered virtually on the dates listed below.

February 16th

May 18th

August 17th

November 16th

We’ve had an interesting year in that we began to transition from all virtual educational events (due to the pandemic) to some remaining virtual and back to some being held in person. In planning for the 2023 education calendar, we have decided to continue with Regulations Training and the Annual Conference being held in person, along with the Awards Dinner; however, other trainings will be offered utilizing a virtual format for the coming year. One of those trainings to be offered in the early part of 2023 will be a webinar to be held on February 21st, which will be “The State of Falls and Criteria for Evidence-Based Programs.” This will be presented at 10:00 a.m. with the details regarding the ending time still being finalized, but it will be roughly 60 – 90 minutes in duration. Stay tuned for more details about this webinar coming soon.


Train the Trainer Opportunities

Those of you who have considerable experience in operating an assisted living community are encouraged to reach out to me to discuss the possibility of taking part in the first module in a “train the trainer” capacity, both for Boot Camp and for the QA/QI Training.  You will be provided with all the information you would need to lead people through the trainings.


Education Committee Opportunities

Anyone interested in assisting with educational content being offered by Mass-ALA is invited to join Mass-ALA’s Education Committee. The Committee is comprised of Mass-ALA members with varied experience, backgrounds, and training. It shall be responsible for advising and assisting with the development of the educational strategies for services and products to members, non-members, and the general public. The committee shall assist in developing educational content for trainings, focused on providing high-quality learning for management and staff working in assisted living. This committee has six meeting per year, with each meeting lasting approximately 90 minutes.

If you’re interested in becoming a member of this committee, please contact me at

As always, I invite you to reach out with any suggestions you might have on topics you’d like to see offered that will meet the needs of assisted living residents and staff. Please feel free to contact me with your ideas on educational events and topics.

I give you my best wishes for a happy holiday season and a new year filled with joy and peace.


     Warmest regards,


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