May 8, 2015

Kelly: This will empower patients and Caregivers

Sen. Kevin Kelly at the CARE ACT press conference in Hartford.

Sen. Kevin Kelly at the CARE ACT press conference in Hartford.

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Hartford, CT – State Senator Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) voted in favor of Senate Bill 290, the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, which will guarantee that caregivers are given follow-up care instructions when a patient is released from the hospital.

“This legislation is extremely important to seniors, their families and caregivers,” said Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) the Aging Committee’s ranking member. “Having a specific discharge plan when a loved one is ready to go home is essential to successful aging in place. For many, providing home care for a loved one is unknown territory causing stress and anxiety, often leading to hospital readmissions and worse, nursing home placement.”

The CARE Act is designed to alleviate the stress and uncertainty caregivers face and should help reduce costs for patients who end up back in the hospital to no fault of their own.

The CARE Act requires hospitals to:

  • Provide each patient with the opportunity to designate a caregiver during the patient’s admission to the hospital,
  • Make reasonable attempts to notify the designated caregiver if the patient is to be discharged back to his or her home, and
  • Provide the caregiver with instructions on how to perform medication management, wound care, injections or other medical tasks for the patient when the patient returns home.

Senator Mae Flexer (D-Killingly), is Senate Chair of the Aging Committee, “When families are facing challenging health circumstances, they need to have the best information available on how to care for a family member who is now their patient. These caregivers need to know exactly what to do and what to look out for.”

According to the Legislative Commission on Aging, close to 500,000 Connecticut residents provide care to their loved ones with tasks such as bathing, dressing, finances, transportation and medical care. The total economic impact of this unpaid care is estimated to be $5.8 billion.

“This bill goes a long way to laying out a coherent plan where the care giver is identified and provided valuable information and resource referral to make aging in the community a viable option,” added Sen. Kelly.

AARP Connecticut director, Nora Duncan, said, “AARP appreciates the bi-partisan support and commends the leadership of the State Senate in bringing The CARE Act to a vote. Senate Bill Number 290 is a no-cost, common-sense solution that will ensure Connecticut’s more than 700,000 family caregivers receive the support and recognition they deserve. We look forward to a similar action in the House.”

A recent AARP report found that many caregivers providing medical care to their loved ones feared that they would make a mistake and would like more training to perform medical tasks.

Nationally, according to AARP:

  • Most care recipients (69 percent) did not have a home visit by a health care professional after discharge from the hospital.
  • Almost half (46 percent) of family caregivers perform medical or nursing tasks for their loved ones with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions
  • Three out of four (78 percent) 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