Legislation Will Better Support Family Caregivers as They Safely Help Seniors Stay at Home
PORTLAND – AARP Maine celebrates the CARE Act. LD 666, An Act to Allow a Patient to Designate a Caregiver in the Patient’s Medical Record, which received unanimous support by the Health and Human Services Committee (HHS) last week. The bill is sponsored by Representative Drew Gattine.
The CARE Act features three important provisions: The name of the family caregiver is recorded when a loved one is admitted into a hospital; The family caregiver is notified if the loved one is to be discharged to another facility or back home; and, the facility must provide an explanation of the medical tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers – that the family caregiver will perform at home.
Most seniors who receive assistance at home rely exclusively on unpaid family caregivers for help. The CARE Act ensures that patients and their caregivers have the opportunity to improve the transition from hospital to home and potentially decrease hospital readmission. Having active family caregiver involvement in the discharge plan is just one way the CARE Act can help reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions.
“The vast majority of older Americans want to live independently at home,” said Rich Livingston, AARP Maine Volunteer State President. “More than 200,000 family caregivers in Maine help their loved ones to live independently – keeping them out of costly institutions. AARP Maine applauds the Health and Human Services Committee for their support of the CARE Act.”
The CARE Act is supported by the Maine Hospital Association, Legal Services for the Elderly, Maine Council on Aging and others, including patients and their caregivers who testified regarding their personal experiences of confusing discharge communication.
AARP Maine thanks the HHS Committee for their unanimous support, and urges all elected leaders to support the CARE Act.