Pa. to provide training, support for family caregivers

Caregivers are getting some care, too.

More than 1.6 million family caregivers in Pennsylvania will now receive training to help senior loved ones age at home—and ensure family can provide the needed care.

The state’s Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act will help family members whose loved ones are hospitalized and transition home. The CARE Act requires hospitals to provide an opportunity to designate a family caregiver, inform caregivers when loved ones are being discharged to another facility or back home and provide caregivers with an explanation and demonstration of the medical tasks they will perform at home.

The law was developed with input from The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Nurse’s Association. Pennsylvania legislators unanimously approved the law, which was signed by the governor in April 2016.

“This common-sense law delivers essential support to caregivers who are working tirelessly caring for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones, so those older adults can continue living independently, with dignity, at home—where they want to be,” said Bill Johnston-Walsh, AARP State Director, which lobbied for the law, in a press release.

AARP conducted research about the care transition home. They found:

  • 69 percent of care recipients did not receive a home visit from a healthcare professional after hospital discharge.  
  • 46 percent of family caregivers perform medical or nursing tasks for their loved ones with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions.
  • 78 percent of those providing these medical or nursing tasks manage medications, including administering intravenous fluids and injections.
  • Most family caregivers report they received little or no training to perform these tasks.

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