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Legislative Approval of CARE Act Praised by AARP Pennsylvania

Legislative Approval of CARE Act Praised by AARP Pennsylvania

AARP Pennsylvania today praised members of the state House of Representatives for approving the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act that will help more than 1.6 million family caregivers currently assisting older adults at home.

Today’s action sends H.B. 1329 to Governor Wolf for his signature. The unanimous vote in the State House of Representatives today (197-0) followed Monday’s unanimous approval by the State Senate. Similar legislation was already passed in 22 states.

“This common sense legislation provides essential support to caregivers who are safely helping older Pennsylvanians remain at home,” said AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh. “The bill also recognizes the critical role family caregivers play in keeping loved ones out of costly institutions and will reduce the likelihood of unnecessary hospital readmissions.”

Sponsored by Representative Hal English (R-30), HB 1329 was developed with input from the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of PA and the PA Nurse’s Association, and features three key provisions:

• That a caregiver be designated upon a senior’s hospital admission.
• That the facility notify the caregiver of the discharge plan.
• That the facility provide an explanation and live instruction of all medical tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers – that the family caregiver will perform at home.

AARP studies show the CARE Act is needed because:

• Most care recipients (69%) did not have a home visit by a health care professional after discharge from the hospital.
• Almost half (46%) of family caregivers perform medical or nursing tasks for their loved ones with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions.
• Three out of four (78%) who provide these medical or nursing tasks manage medications, including administering intravenous fluids and injections.
• Most family caregivers report that they received little or no training to perform these tasks.

“If you aren’t a caregiver now, chances are you were one in the past, or you will be one in the future,” said Johnston-Walsh. “Approval of this legislation will help all those who are working tirelessly caring for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones so those older adults can continue living independently, with dignity, at home—where they want to be.”

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