New Law Helps Family Caregivers When a Loved One is Hospitalized
Hawaii's 154,000 family caregivers have more support when a loved one – such as a parent, spouse or friend – goes into the hospital now that the CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable) Act will become law on July 1. AARP is launching a public awareness campaign that will inform people about the support the CARE Act provides to family caregivers. The campaign also celebrates family caregivers and lets family caregivers know about some of the resources available to help them.
The new CARE Act law makes it clear that family caregivers are part of the patient care team. Hawaii joins more than 30 states that have adopted the law.
It provides three supports for family caregivers when a patient goes into the hospital and as they transition home. They are:
• Identification – A patient has the opportunity to designate a family caregiver on the medical record when admitted to the hospital.
• Notification – The family caregiver is notified if their loved one is to be discharged home or transferred to another facility.
• Instruction – Hospitals must offer family caregivers instruction on the medical tasks they will need to perform at home.
"Having a loved one go into the hospital and return home is a stressful time for family caregivers," said Barbara Kim Stanton, the state director of AARP Hawaii. "AARP fought for the CARE Act to make it easier for family caregivers and patients to work with the hospital for the best possible outcome.
"It's our hope that the law will empower caregivers and hospitals to form a partnership for the best possible care. Healthcare works best when everybody works together and consumers are empowered," Stanton said.
AARP and about 15 partner organizations are distributing wallet cards with information on the three supports that the CARE Act provides.
AARP is partnering with Hawaii News Now on a public awareness campaign to make people aware of the CARE Act, about resources available to help caregivers and about our I Heart Caregivers storytelling initiative, which highlights the extraordinary job caregivers do in our community.
"Family caregivers are unsung heroes," Stanton said. "I Heart Caregivers recognizes what they do and helps AARP fight for more support for caregivers in Hawaii, for more services like help at home, workplace flexibility, training, relief and much more."
"I encourage everyone, even if you are not a caregiver, to visit the website and read the stories from Hawaii's caregivers. They are inspiring," Stanton said.
The awareness campaign will inform caregivers on available resources such as articles, videos, support groups and caregiving workshops.
People can download or order a CARE Act wallet card from the website. Family caregivers can also call 1-877-333-5885 to get your free wallet card. Keep it by your insurance card so that the information is available when you need it.