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CARE Act Provides Hope for Family Caregivers

By Kevin McClarren, 11:16 pm on

If you’re a family caregiver, we have some news for you! A new bill is being signed into law which will benefit you and your elderly loved one in the event of a required hospital stay. This bill is called the CARE Act. “CARE” is an acronym for Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable. In New Jersey, the legislation has just been passed by the Assembly and Senate, and now awaits the Governor’s signature.

THE NEED FOR CARE

The CARE Act addresses the problems family members have when their loved one is hospitalized. Often, a senior patient requires follow-up in-home senior care in New Jersey that family members are not trained to provide. For example, there may be a need to change dressings, monitor medication, or provide personal care, in which an adult child or spouse has no experience. Even with instructions from medical staff, family caregivers are left unprepared to handle the demands of post-hospital senior care on their own. The CARE Act will change this.

The bill will work in three ways:

1. When a patient is admitted to a hospital or rehab facility, the institution will be required to record the family caregiver’s name.

2. Once a discharge plan is in place, a facility must notify the caregiver that their loved one is going to be released.

3. Before a patient is discharged, a facility must provide in-person instruction in medical tasks that will need to be performed at home.

HOME ALONE STUDY

The CARE Act is the outcome of an AARP Study entitled “Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care.” The study revealed that upon discharge, approximately 70% of senior patients don’t receive follow-up medical visits. Consequently, family caregivers are left with the responsibility of blindly performing post-hospital home care. Since about 50% of care giving Americans provide medical home care, a significant number of people will benefit from this bill. The impact will be even greater in New Jersey, where 72% of family caregivers perform medical tasks for loved ones.

In her AARP article entitled “Breaking News: N.J. Legislature Passes CARE Act to Support Family Caregivers,” Elaine Ryan said, “As a caregiver for my parents for 15 years, I know firsthand the importance and need for the CARE Act. For many, like me, family caregiving is more than just household chores and rides to the doctor. Family caregivers are often asked to perform medical/nursing tasks such as medication changes… and more that can quickly become part of a daily routine.”

With state legislators hearing the voice of advocacy groups such as AARP, new programs and resources are in the works to support you. If you, as a family caregiver, are seeking in-home respite help, don’t hesitate to contact the hourly senior caregivers in Warren, New Jersey at Home Care Assistance. Call us today at 908.450.9400 to schedule a complementary in-home consultation and don’t forget to share this story on social media!

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