Help for millions of family caregivers across Washington state is on its way with the introduction of House Bill 2424—the Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable Act (CARE Act)—legislation that recognizes the critical role family caregivers play in helping their loved ones age safely at home and out of costly institutions.
The CARE Act, which has the support of a wide range of organizations representing health advocates and seniors and people with disabilities, would help more Washington residents age in their own homes, rather than in costly, taxpayer-funded nursing homes or other institutional settings. The bill, which could reduce costly hospital readmissions, features three important provisions:
- The name of the family caregiver is recorded when a loved one is admitted to the hospital.
- The family caregiver is notified if the loved one is to be discharged to another facility or back home.
- The facility must provide an explanation and live instruction of the medical tasks—such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers—that the family caregiver will perform at home.
The CARE Act is AARP Washington’s top state legislative priority for 2016. “It’s a win-win,” explained AARP Advocacy Director Cathy MacCaul. “The CARE Act helps patients, their caregivers, and health care providers by improving patients’ health and reducing unnecessary hospital readmissions and expensive emergency room visits.”
The proposed legislation could help thousands of patients who are discharged home from hospitals, as well as many of the state’s more than 1.2 million family caregivers—whose numbers are only expected to increase as Washington’s population ages.
About half of all family caregivers perform medical and nursing tasks for their loved ones. AARP estimates Washington’s family caregivers provide care valued at an estimated $10 billion a year.
For the current status of House Bill 2424 in Olympia, click here.
For more information about AARP Washington, visit www.aarp.org/wa.