Today’s health care system is complicated and confusing.  Our nation’s most passionate caregiver advocacy organizations have made tremendous advancement in the past decade to give caregivers a seat in the health care team.  To date,  43 states have passed the Caregiver Advise Record and Enable (CARE) Act.  The nation passed the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage RAISE family caregiver signed into law by President Trump in 2018.  Home Alone Revisited Builds on the momentum of CARE and RAISE work.  Here are some of the highlights of the progress made in hospital care:

  • Hospitals are now required to identify and include the family caregiver in the Electronic Health Record which includes the patient portals, messaging centers and care coordination activities.
  • Hospital staff communicates through interdisciplinary rounds, team huddles, enhanced and inclusive shift change reporting and white boards in the hospital room creating pathways for caregiver to offer their insights.
  • Hospital staff are receiving training to assess and engage both the patient and the family caregiver in care management and support. In fact, facilities now accommodate diverse cultures and lifestyles reducing the barriers and building trust relationships.
  • Caregivers receive training to perform nursing tasks at home Hospitals are using many formats including teach backs, video instruction and beside practice sessions. In fact, post discharge support is becoming routine using technology and outreach workers.
  • Discharge planning is no longer simply a designated time to arrange for a ride home. Today’s planning includes assessing the patient and caregiver needs for community-based services.  The discharge staff now accounts for potential complications that may lead to readmissions or emergency department visits by putting a plan in place to limit these events.
  • Medication management and education are changing the pharmacy role in caregiver support as well. A new ‘med to bed’ program provides the first post discharge dose giving a busy caregiver more time to get and organize new medications when returning home.

Thanks to all of the foundations, membership organizations, companies and professionals who continue to advance the rights of family caregivers including, AARP, John A, Hartford Foundation, United Hospital Fund, Family Caregiver Alliance, African American Alzheimer’s and Wellness Foundation, Nurses Improving Care  for Health system Elders, Center to Advance Palliative Care, Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, Centene Charitable Foundation, EMD Serono, Inc, Home Instead Senior Care, Inc., National Research Foundation, National League for Nursing, Retirement Research Foundation, National Alliance for Caregiving, The Lindsay Institute on Caregiving, Rosalind Carter Institute for Caregiving, Pfizer, Inc., Rush University Medical Center, New York University, Visiting Nurses Association of America, Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, Atlas of Caregiving and U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.