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Caregivers Have New Rights under Patient Designated Caregiver Rule


Rule is Designed to Improve Communications between Caregivers and Hospitals, Reduce Readmissions


(Midvale, UT)  A new rule proposed by AARP Utah and issued by the Utah Department of Health will give important new rights to family caregivers when a loved one enters the hospital by helping to ensure that the caregiver is notified when a loved one is discharged or transferred, and receives instruction from the hospital about any after-care that is required at home, such as managing prescriptions or applying a dressing.  The Utah Hospital Association was also a key player in formulating this new rule.

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This “Patient Designated Caregiver Rule” will:


  • Give a patient admitted to the hospital the opportunity to designate a caregiver who will assist the patient with continuing care after discharge from the hospital;


  • Let the patient give written consent to allow the hospital to release medical information to the designated caregiver;


  • Prior to the patient being discharged, require the hospital to provide a written discharge plan for continuing care needs to the patient and designated caregiver;


  • Provide the designated caregiver with an opportunity for instruction in the continuing care tasks outlined in the discharge plan.


According to a recent AARP survey, more than 336,000 Utahns serve as family caregivers, providing unpaid care ranging from household tasks to transportation.  This represents 313 million hours of care valued at $4.15 billion.  More than 60 percent of Utah caregivers also perform complex medical tasks – though only half receive training on how to do so when a loved one leaves the hospital.  Survey respondents overwhelmingly supported requiring hospitals to provide training on medical tasks, with 95 percent in favor.  This rule would make this a requirement if so requested.


The Patient Designated Caregiver Rule is based on the Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable Act (CARE Act) developed by AARP to help caregivers better care for loved ones when they enter a hospital.  Currently, 18 states and Puerto Rico have passed the CARE Act and several more will consider it in this year’s legislative sessions.


“This regulation is a perfect example of how common sense solutions can be found when stakeholders work together, said Danny Harris, Advocacy Director for AARP Utah.  “Family caregivers will be given crucial guidance on how to care for their loved ones after leaving the hospital.  We commend the Utah Hospital Association for working with us on this new rule to recognize the vital role caregivers play in the health of those who rely upon their care.”


According to Utah Hospital Association Executive Vice President David Gessel, "Utah hospitals and healthcare providers strive every day to give their patients the best care possible, and this new rule will help hospital patients, their caregivers, and healthcare providers communicate more effectively to make this happen.  Utah is known as a caring, collaborative state and this effort is another good example of that type of collaboration."


Charise Jensen, an Assistant Program Manager with Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services, stated, “Our Caregiver Support Program is very excited about this new rule as it will help many caregivers.  We often times have caregivers who call and say the person the care for was just released from the hospital and they have no idea what to do.  Recently, we had a gentleman call whose mom was in the hospital over the weekend from a fall.   He stated that his mom could not move to use the bathroom, shower, or fix herself something to eat.   I asked him if anyone from the hospital had spoken with him before the discharge and he said that no, they hadn’t, no one had said anything to him other than it was time for his mom to go home.  We receive calls like this frequently from caregivers who are not involved with the discussion of their loved one’s care and no plan is put in place before leaving the hospital.”


The Patient Designated Caregiver Rule took effect on February 10, 2016.

Follow this link to provide your full information so that we can mail you a convenient card you can keep in your wallet.  That way, you'll have it when you need it the most.  If you prefer to print your own card, just click here.

To see a full copy of the rule, click here.


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