The law will require hospitals drive family caregiver engagement through home care education at the time of discharge.

While we may be generally distracted by what is going on with healthcare at the Federal level, there is a quiet movement taking place at the state level. March 20, 2017 “:

The Ohio state legislature has unanimously passed a law that will require hospitals to train and engage family caregivers in at-home patient care, easing the transition during hospital discharge.

AARP Ohio proposed the AARP Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, which requires the following of hospitals:

  • Designate a family caregiver in the patient’s medical record.
  • Inform the family caregiver when the patient is to be discharged.
  • Offer the family caregiver instruction and demonstrations of medical tasks they will be expected to provide for their loved ones at home, such as administering multiple medications, dressing wounds and operating medical equipment.

These requirements are not only aimed at improving patient care following hospital discharge, but also at reducing healthcare costs and hospital readmissions through quality at-home family care.

This move is in recognition of the reality that we all, especially as patients, require a level of support to help manage conditions, post-surgical situations, etc. Up to this point, if you are lucky enough, you have had a loved one, a family member, or friend to generously give their time to take care of you. Now, the  discharge system is required to ensure that your personal care team is fully informed about how to take care of you.

Since 2014 AARP has been on a campaign to have this type of law enacted in every state of the US. Click here to find an archive of articles from AARP detailing the CARE Act and the states that have approved the Act – http://states.aarp.org/tag/care-act/

Ohio is the 35th state to enact AARP’s law. In Oklahoma, the law has reduced medical costs and hospital readmission rates because patients are receiving clinical care from their family members. When hospitals instruct family members in the proper way to care for their loved ones, they are less likely to need expert medical treatment down the road.

This is the kind of effort that can support better continuity of care. Although loved ones step in they may not be fully versed on the care you need. Being part of the discharge process can help to remedy that.

The only challenge I see is if the person being discharged does not have a support network – this is not uncommon. Those who are single, have no children, small circle of friends, and more – it can be likely that there is no one to step up. This is where HUB services can be vastly supportive. As more and more companies are willing to invest in nurses to visit homes this can fill the gap. I am sure that AARP sees the dwindling social circle as people get older and may have other solutions coming down the pike. In the meantime, good on AARP!

Link to the full article published March, 20, 2017 on the www.patientengagementhit.com website – http://patientengagementhit.com/news/aarp-law-supports-family-caregiver-engagement-in-discharge

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