Education News

by Laurie Cashman, Director of Education

Educational Opportunities Abound at Mass-ALA


As we near the last quarter of the calendar year, my thoughts naturally go in the direction of educational events and content for the coming year. As we wrap up 2022, we have much to consider in the planning of 2023. We’ve had a transformative year at Mass-ALA as we launched the Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement Training Program and in addition to that, we’re transitioning from all virtual educational events to some virtual and back to some in-person.

The Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI) Training Program was launched on September 13th, with the roll-out of the newly updated “Tool” and its accompanying initial training event. Mass-ALA initially developed the Assisted Living Quality Improvement Tool:  A Tool to Assist with Regulatory Compliance and Quality Improvement twenty years ago. This “Tool” has been an effective document in addressing operational issues in assisted living residences and aiding in the achievement and maintenance of high operating standards.  It was intended, at its inception, to provide a format to assist ALRs in improving operations and monitoring compliance with regulations set forth by the state.  As a recap, it was decided to begin 2022 with a strong effort to update “the Tool” to assist in identifying operational areas that may require further exploration, improvement, or recognition for excellence.  Several modifications have been made over the years as the document was designed to be adaptive and flexible. The Module 1 training had more than 80 participants and it was a day of intense QA/QI training. Registration is open for Modules 2 and 3, scheduled for October 27th and December 15th, respectively, with both running from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and being offered utilizing a virtual format.

As you consider registering for these modules, I’d like to suggest that you attend Boot Camp as a precursor. QA/QI can be viewed as an extension of Boot Camp, perhaps being called a deeper dive into the general overview provided at Boot Camp, being compared to a sort of Boot Camp II, without actually bearing that title.  The training, along with the implementation of quality assurance measures, can also be an effective tool to help assisted living residences to prepare for recertification surveys by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs.  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 to 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.  Please see below for registration links and details about the upcoming Modules 2 and 3.

 Module 2: October 27th, 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

– 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: December 15th, 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

– 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


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.  You will be provided with all the information you would need to lead people through the training and “the Tool.”

My plan is to continue to provide you with education and support that will enable you to work with less stress, more confidence, and the acquisition of increased knowledge that comes from hard work and dedication, which will result in optimal care for your residents, staff, and even yourself. Please check out the Mass-ALA website to view the education calendar for the rest of 2022, which includes the following:

  • Annual Conference, October 6th
  • Creating a Culture of Employee Engagement that Recruits and Retains, webinar by Jim Collins of Collins Learning, September 29th
  • Hoarding Behaviors in Older Adults webinar by Dr. Michael Tompkins, November 15th
  • Dementia Training, December 7th
  • QA/QI Modules 2 and 3, October 27th and December 15th

 Various CEUs are available for all of the above.

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 at


Warmest regards,


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