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Survey: Older Adults Support CARE Act

HI CARE Act Coalition

A recent survey of Hawaii registered voters age 45-plus shows overwhelming support for legislation that would help the state’s unpaid family caregivers when their loved ones are hospitalized. The findings indicate broad public support for the CARE Act, which would require hospitals to give patients the opportunity to designate a caregiver when they’re admitted, and offer the caregiver instruction, at the point of discharge, in tasks needed to be performed when the patient goes home.

Among the voters surveyed, about nine in ten (89 percent) said hospitals should be required to keep caregivers informed of major decisions concerning the patient, and 92 percent say they should show them how to perform medical tasks that are needed at home when the patient is released. Twenty-one percent of residents said they are currently providing unpaid care to an adult loved one while 40 percent have done so in the past. Four in ten residents (42 percent) say it is at least somewhat likely they will provide care in the future to a loved one who is frail, elderly, ill, or who has a disability.

“As Hawaii’s population ages the likelihood of being a family caregiver is increasing, yet few of us are ready for the responsibility,” said AARP Hawaii State Director Barbara Kim Stanton. “As the complexity of medical and nursing tasks caregivers are called upon to provide grows, the CARE Act is a common-sense solution that calls for no state appropriation. Eighteen other states have passed similar legislation since 2014. We urge Hawaii lawmakers to pass this bill without delay.”

Nearly three quarters of current and former caregiver (72 percent) said that at some point their loved one was admitted to the hospital. While two-thirds of caregivers that had a loved one hospitalized said their received instruction in the tasks they needed to perform at home, 30 percent did not receive instruction. The CARE Act is intended to address this inconsistency in the hospital discharge experience for consumers across the state.

Currently, the typical family caregiver in Hawaii is a woman (65 percent), over 55 years old (74 percent), married (69 percent), and employed (42 percent). The average age of the person they care for is 80 years old. Both current and former caregivers have provided a range of care, with more than 74 percent assisting with complex care like medication management.

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