AARP NEWS
AARP Washington, 9750 3rd Ave. NE, Suite 450, Seattle, WA 98115
206-517-9345, 206-517-9350 Fax, www.aarp.org/wa

For Immediate Release
March 16, 2016

Contacts:
Jason Erskine / 206-517-9345
Cathy MacCaul / 206-218-5915

Washington Legislature Passes “CARE Act” with Unanimous Support
Bill to help more than 1.2 million Washington family caregivers awaits Governor Inslee’s Signature

Washington – Washington State is well on its way to becoming the 22nd state in the nation to pass the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act.

Passed unanimously by the Washington State Legislature during the regular session and now awaiting Governor Inslee’s signature, Substitute Senate Bill 6327 is a common sense solution to help those caring for their older mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and other loved ones so they can live independently. The law ensures family caregivers have key support as their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home.

The CARE Act includes 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 and live instruction of the medical tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers – that the family caregiver will perform at home.

“A silent army of nearly 1.2 million family caregivers are the unheralded backbone of our state’s care system, providing more than two-thirds of home care for older Washingtonians and adults with disabilities,” said AARP State Director Doug Shadel. “I am pleased with the bipartisan support the CARE Act received, and that our legislative leaders chose to support family caregivers by making caring for their loved ones a little bit easier.”

“Thank you to Senator Barbara Bailey (R-Oak Harbor), Representative Steve Tharinger (D-Sequim) and the Washington State Hospital Association for all their work and leadership in guiding the bill to a successful passage,” said AARP Advocacy Director Cathy MacCaul.  “And a special thanks to the more than 12,000 Washingtonians who reached out to their elected lawmakers in the past few weeks urging passage of the measure,” she said.

“I’m pleased that the Legislature has recognized the significant value that these caregivers provide,” said Sen. Bailey. “As health care costs continue to rise and we face an impending ‘age wave,’ giving families more resources and support to care for their loved ones outside of costly institutional care will be critical.”

A recent AARP survey of Washington voters showed strong support of the CARE Act with 94% indicating their support for requiring hospitals to demonstrate medical tasks to caregivers; 91% support for requiring hospitals to keep caregivers informed of major decisions like transferring or discharging the patient; and 82% support for requiring hospitals and care facilities to record caregiver information upon admission.

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