Washington State has become 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 signed by Governor Inslee late last week, 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.

Governor Jay Inslee signs Substitute Senate Bill No. 6327, April 1, 2016. Relating to hospital discharge planning with lay caregivers.

Governor Inslee is joined by bill advocates as he signs SSB6327, known as the “CARE Act.” Pictured from left-to-right: Representative Joe Schmick (R-Colfax); Bob LeRoy, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association of Washington; Cathy MacCaul, AARP Advocacy Director; Washington State Governor Jay Inslee; Mary Clogston, AARP advocate; Senator Barbara Bailey (R-Oak Harbor, bill sponsor); Mike Tucker, AARP State President; Stu Seibel, Yakima resident and family caregiver. – Photo Credit: Legislative Support Services

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.

Bill advocates, including Yakima resident Stu Seibel, joined the Governor on Friday, April 1 as he signed the bill in to law.  Stu, age 73, provided full-time care for his wife Carol as she battled ovarian cancer, passing away in January.  “One might think that the toughest part of caregiving would revolve around shopping, cooking, cleaning and other household duties but it’s not,” says Stu. “The greatest challenge is keeping a positive attitude, along with faith and hope, not only for Carol, the patient, but also for myself as caregiver.  My hope is that the CARE Act will help make the big job of caregiving a little bit easier for others,” he said.