The silent and dedicated army of 123,000 unpaid caregivers in Delaware have some hope on the horizon. That’s thanks to Delaware’s Senate, who recently introduced the CARE Act into this year’s Legislative session for vote. The bill, Senate Bill 52, is moving to the House for vote soon. The bill would provide more support for caregivers and will make it easier for those receiving care to remain at home – which is where they want to be.
Unpaid caregivers spend countless hours providing a range of tasks for loved ones. They help with transportation, shopping, bathing and dressing. They also may need to perform complex medical tasks such as wound care or managing medications.
When loved ones leave the hospital, family caregivers can feel unprepared and unsure about the medical tasks needed to properly care for them. The bill supports family caregivers when their loved ones are admitted to the hospital and makes it less stressful when they are discharged by requiring three things:
- Each patient is given the opportunity to identify a caregiver.
- The caregiver is notified when the patient is ready for discharge.
- The caregiver is offered the opportunity for face-to-face instruction and demonstration of the care needed once their loved one returns home.
Senator Bethany Hall Long is the bill’s lead sponsor. She is a professor of Nursing, and has chaired the Senate Health and Social Services Committee for 8 years.
“Anyone who’s been admitted to a hospital knows that a patient’s recovery and care doesn’t end at discharge,” said Sen. Hall-Long. “Oftentimes the responsibility for that care falls on a family member with no clinical training, which is unfair to the caregiver, hazardous to the patient, and expensive for the hospital if it results in readmission. Especially considering the growth in our aging population, it’s critical for everyone that Delawareans have access to quality care at home, and that begins with the people closest to us.”
On behalf of AARP’s 184,000 members in Delaware, we want to extend our appreciation to Legislators sponsoring the CARE Act: Bethany A. Hall-Long (D); David Bentz (D); Valerie Longhurst(D); Colin Bonini (R); Nicole Poore (D); Paul Baumbach (D); Debra Heffernan (D); Earl Jaques (D); Daniel Short (R).