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CARE Act assists family caregivers

Written by Diane Archer

About seven in ten older adults need long-term care at some point. In many cases, it is a family member who provides that care to help them remain in their homes as long as possible and stay out of nursing homes and other institutions. The CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable) Act is designed to assist family caregivers, by helping to ensure a smooth transition when the people they care for are moving between home and hospital.

Family caregivers provide a wide range of caregiving services, from simple non-health related chores such as cleaning, cooking, and transportation to medical services such as medication management, wound care, injections and operating medical equipment. AARP reports that about 20 million family caregivers in the US perform these medical services for the people they love. It is important for family caregivers to know when the people they love are leaving the hospital and what types of care they will need when they return home.

In states that have implemented the CARE Act, hospitals must include the names of family caregivers in patients’ medical records. Hospitals also must alert family caregivers when their loved ones are about to leave the hospital. And, hospitals must provide family caregivers with information on how to perform needed medical services after their loved ones return home from the hospital.

The CARE Act is law in 36 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. States that have passed the CARE Act are: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut , Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennslyvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming.

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