Members of the Hawaii CARE Act Coalition descended on the state Capitol Tuesday for the final meeting of the Legislative Family Caregivers Working Group, which is preparing to submit recommendations to the 2016 Legislature.
The Working Group was established in 2015 to examine and access issues relating to family caregiving - in particular, the role of caregivers in hospital discharge procedures. The public is invited to submit comments to Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland and Representative Della Au Belatti by Tuesday, December 22 at 5 p.m.
Advocates are seeking passage of the CARE Act, which would make sure caregivers are recognized when their loved ones go into the hospital, and that they are offered instruction needed to safely help seniors stay at home.
Key provisions of the CARE Act include:
- Giving patients the option to designate a family caregiver on the hospital record.
- Notifying the family caregiver prior to the patient’s discharge or transfer to another facility.
- Offering the family caregiver the opportunity to receive instructions in the medical tasks they need to perform at home.
According to AARP Public Policy research, there are 154,000 family caregivers in Hawaii who provided unpaid care valued at more than $2 billion in 2013 alone.
Family caregivers have traditionally provided assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, and household tasks such as shopping and managing finances. While these remain critically important to the well-being of care recipients, the role of family caregivers has dramatically expanded to include performing medical tasks of the kind and complexity once only provided in hospitals.