Caregivers-logo-2-300x300Last week Senator Collins introduced the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act in the US Senate. This bill directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a National Family Caregiving Project to develop and sustain a national strategy to support family caregivers, and is based on a recommendation of the bipartisan Commission on Long Term Care. The act is modeled on a law Senator Collins co-authored in 2010 that created a coordinated strategic national plan to combat Alzheimer’s disease.

In a recent press release, Senator Collins said, “The RAISE Family Caregivers Act will launch a coordinated, national strategic plan that will help us to leverage our resources, promote innovation and promising practices, and provide our nation’s family caregivers with much-needed recognition and support.”

The announcement of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act comes the same week as the passage of the CARE Act here in Maine. The CARE Act features three important provisions:

  1. The name of the family caregiver is recorded when a loved one is admitted into a hospital;
  2. The family caregiver is notified if the loved one is to be discharged back home; and
  3. The hospital must provide an explanation of the medical tasks- such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers- that the family caregiver will perform at home.

The federal RAISE Family Caregivers Act and the state CARE Act are great news for Maine’s 178,000 family caregivers and their loved ones. Family caregivers in Maine provide an estimated $2.2 billion in unpaid care annually- helping to eliminate the need for more expensive nursing home care and unnecessary hospitalization.

Supporting family caregivers in a top priority for AARP Maine. We thank Senator Collins for her bipartisan leadership on family caregiving here in Maine and across the country.

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