Boise, ID – In Idaho, more than 200,000 hardworking family caregivers are performing largely unnoticed but critical at-home medical services on family members and loved ones. Institutions and healthcare professional play a role in helping Idahoans live independently, but family caregivers in the Gem State are equally important by contributing an estimated $2 billion worth of unpaid care.
These complex medical tasks can include managing injections, helping with assistive devices, operating equipment, wound care and more. Without the proper instruction and training, these responsibilities can be intimidating and stressful especially to people without a medical background. That’s why AARP Idaho is urging lawmakers to enact The Patient Caregiver Support Act to better prepare these family caregivers, reduce hospital readmissions and improve patient outcomes.
According to the 2017 AARP Idaho Caregiving Survey, more than 80 percent of Idaho registered voters age 45 and older support the measures in The Patient Caregiver Support Act which will help unpaid family caregivers when their loved ones are admitted into the hospital and as they transition home. The bill features three import provisions for hospitals to do:
- Upon admission into a hospital, the patient is asked if they want to record the name of a family caregiver. With the patient’s consent, the name of the family caregiver is recorded;
- That caregiver is notified if the patient is to be discharged to another facility or back home; and,
- The facility must provide instructions of the medical tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers – that the family caregiver will need to perform at home.
“Family caregivers are required to undertake tasks that were once in the domain of only doctors and nurses: complex medication management, wound care and injections. Yet, according to our research one in four Idaho caregivers receives little or no training for these duties,” said AARP Idaho state director Lupe Wissel. “That’s why AARP Idaho is working towards commonsense solutions.”
The Patient Caregiver Support Act recognizes the critical role family caregivers play in keeping their loved ones out of costly institutions. .
Similar legislation has passed in 36 states and 3 territories, including almost every western state.