UPDATED - V.2.1 - COVID-19 DSP Training

Illinois Department of Human Services

Division of Developmental Disabilities

Information Bulletin

DD.20.023 FINAL


The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) is committed to protecting individuals with developmental disabilities in Illinois. This Information Bulletin provides updated guidance, for hiring, redeployment and training for direct support professionals.


The Division is clarifying and adding additional temporary changes to assist agencies to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes are allowed only during effective dates as defined by the Division.

Changes to eligibility for DSPs

  1. As of August 1, 2020, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification and First Aid must be valid. Please visit the respective CPR providers of the training for guidance on extensions and training that may be available during COVID-19.
  2. DSPs may still be shared between agencies. The hiring agency can use the background and fingerprint checks from the other agency, if they choose. If they choose not to use the background and fingerprint checks, they will be required to complete their own background and fingerprint checks.

Changes to eligibility for current employees to allow for redeployment:

  1. Staff qualified under any service definition (examples below) in any of the Division's three Home and Community Based Waivers or any other IDHS Medicaid waiver program may be redeployed as a DSP.
    • For example, Personal Support Workers, Job Coaches, Vocational Specialists, Behavior Therapists, Personal Assistants, QIDPs, etc. can all be redeployed to be a DSP in a residential setting.
  2. Staff who are redeployed must receive training from the DSP modules to fill any knowledge gaps that might exist between their current role and the DSP role.
  3. It is the agency's responsibility to determine what additional training is needed for redeployed staff based on the individual needs of the client, their behavior plan and their risk assessment.
  4. Individualized training on de-escalation and prevention methods must be given based on any behavioral needs that the individuals served have.

Changes to Agency Controlled PSW Rules:

  1. As stated in Information Bulletin DDD.20.020 COVID-19 PSW Background Checks located here: https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=126628 , effective October 7, 2020, PSWs are required to get their fingerprints completed before beginning to provide services. However, they don't have to wait for the results of the fingerprint-based check to begin providing services. Once the results of the fingerprint checks are received, the appropriate action will be taken.

Changes to Medication Administration Training:

  1. The basic 8-hour medication administration training class can be given by webinar.
  2. Basic 8-hour medication trainings can be transferable between agencies (including out-of-state agencies). The hiring agency should contact the agency who provided basic medication training to the staff to confirm the staff was trained and passed the Medication Authorization Test. The hiring agency will document this request via email and the documentation will be forwarded.
  3. The RN Trainer continues to have the discretion to determine if a staff member does not demonstrate competency to administer medications.
  4. For a newly Authorized DSP (ADSPs), if the RN trainer cannot complete the first CBTA in person, the RN Trainer must use a remote video process (FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, etc.).
  5. CBTA trainings for new individuals may be provided over the phone if the ADSP has experience passing medications with other individuals. It should be documented on the CBTA that it was done remotely.
  6. CBTA completion on inhalers, suppositories, eyedrops and eardrops that cannot be done in person, must be provided by a remote video process (Facetime, Zoom, Skype). It should be documented on the CBTA that it was done remotely.
  7. As of November 1, 2020, all nursing assessments and SAMAs that expired during March - June 30 should have been completed. As of July 1, all nursing assessments and SAMAs should be completed on time per rule and regulations.
  8. The RN Trainer can electronically sign documents with a typed signature provided that after the crisis period is over, they go back and sign/date each document.
    • For example, new "medication change forms" can be completed electronically, and the nurse can type their name. After the crisis period, they should print the document and sign and date it on the date that it was printed.
  9. This should be done for any other document the RN Trainer is not able to print or sign in person.

The information contained herein should not be considered a substitute for the appropriate official statutes, rules, regulations, or the advice of legal counsel.

Effective Date:

November 13, 2020