With unanimous passage of the Arkansas Lay Caregiver Act in both chambers of the General Assembly, Arkansas joins the growing ranks of states that are easing the transition from hospital to home for patients and their caregivers.
The law, which takes effect July 21, lets every hospital patient designate a family caregiver. The hospital must take reasonable steps to notify the caregiver about discharge plans and to prepare the caregiver for the patient’s aftercare needs.
Forty-seven percent of Arkansas hospitals were penalized for excessive readmissions in 2013 by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “This law may help prevent costly readmissions by engaging family caregivers in the hospital setting so they may safely provide care for their loved ones at home,” said Herb Sanderson, AARP associate state director for advocacy.
About 478,000 Arkansans serve as caregivers at any given time. Stay informed at aarp.org/ar.