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AARP AARP States Caregiving

AARP Wyoming will focus on caregiving in 2016

Tim Summers - Wyoming
Val Rothwell 307-433-9712

By Tim Summers, Wyoming State Director

In Wyoming, more than 66,000 family caregivers help their loved ones live at home- as opposed to living in costly long-term care facilities, which are often paid for by the State of Wyoming through Medicaid. The unpaid assistance these individuals provide includes help with activities like bathing, dressing, feeding, medication management, wound care, transportation, and much more.

Caregivers often provide all this care with little or no support or training. In Wyoming, family caregivers provide unpaid care valued at about $680 million annually. Considering family caregivers are often on call 24/7 while holding down full time jobs, what would you do to help them continue to safely care for their loved ones at home? Caregivers have a big job but we can help with some basic support—and commonsense solutions—to make their big responsibilities a little bit easier.

That’s why AARP urges Wyoming lawmakers to enact the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act and help family caregivers as their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. The CARE Act recognizes the critical role family caregivers play in keeping their loved ones out of costly institutions.

The Act features three important provisions:
1. The name of the family caregiver is recorded when a loved one is admitted into a hospital.
2. The family caregiver is notified if the loved one is to be discharged to another facility or back home.
3. The facility must provide an explanation and instructions of the medical tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers – that the family caregiver will need to perform at home.

Nationally, most care recipients (69%) did not have a home visit by a health care professional after discharge from the hospital. Almost half (46%) of family caregivers perform medical or nursing tasks for their loved ones with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions. Three out of four (78%) who provide these medical or nursing tasks manage medications, including administering intravenous fluids and injections. And as I have already mentioned, most family caregivers report that they received little or no training to perform these tasks.

The CARE Act is a practical and common sense approach that provides caregivers with more tools so they can do the job they need to do at home. The Act will not cost the State of Wyoming anything. In fact, it will likely help reduce hospital re-admissions in the Medicaid program and will have minimal fiscal impact on Wyoming’s hospitals. Please tell your state legislators about the Care Act and urge them to support it in the upcoming 2016 Wyoming Budget Session.

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