A new state law, the CARE Act, took effect in April 2017 to recognize the increasing importance of family members and other caregivers. These individuals have a profound impact on a person’s ability to manage their care. This is especially true upon discharge from the hospital to the home. This set the expectation for hospitals to record the names of caregivers and contact them prior to a patient’s discharge. They also need to provide them the same information or training given to patients for handling any medical needs after getting home.
An elderly spouse might be the medical power of attorney listed as an emergency contact, for instance, whereas a person listed as a “lay caregiver” might be a local family member, involved friend or a RN Life Care Manager with Holistic Aging who specializes in navigating, managing care and preventing hospitalizations. A client may want to designate the Life Care Manager as their caregiver in their advance directive.
Why does this matter?
The primary causes for hospital readmission include lack of preparation for discharge, poor hospital communications with patient and caregivers, and inadequate follow up care according to recent research. Additionally, patients go home with complex illnesses and treatments. These treatments were once provided by nurses in a hospital setting. The CARE Act is a good beginning, but just a start. The Commonwealth of PA needs to continue to look for and implement strategies to educate and support unpaid family caregivers.
Holistic Aging – Options For Elder Care was part of the group that pushed last year for the CARE Act legislation. Supporting caregivers is a top priority for all of us. We know the value of caregivers in the lives of our clients. We continue to strive for the best support for our clients and their families. Let’s keep pushing for better changes to support these incredible individuals.