Tending to the needs of an aging parent or other frail adult is challenging at best—and can be daunting if the caregiver isn’t sure what to do. Maryland legislators addressed that uncertainty in April by passing a law that improves communication between hospitals and family caregivers to ease patients’ transitions back home.
The law gives every hospital patient an opportunity to designate a family caregiver. The hospital must record the caregiver’s name in the patient’s chart and reach out to inform the caregiver when the patient is about to be released. In addition, hospital staff must meet with the caregiver as soon as feasible to discuss follow-up care the patient will need after discharge.
Maryland—the 25th state to pass such a law—is home to about 771,000 family caregivers who provide 717 million hours of unpaid services a year. For more information, go to aarp.org/md.