AARP Survey Shows Strong Support for Family Caregiver Training and Support
PORTLAND, OREGON, April 7, 2015 – A recent AARP survey of Oregon registered voters age 45 and older, found that 85 percent of Oregonians want to live independently, at home as long as possible, as long as they have the help of a family caregiver. Ninety-one percent support requiring hospitals to explain and demonstrate medical tasks; and four in five support keeping family caregivers informed of medical decisions regarding the patient (86%) and requiring hospitals to record the family caregiver’s information in the patient’s medical record (82%).
“Family caregivers are the backbone of providing long-term supports and services in Oregon,” said Jon Bartholomew, AARP Oregon Director for Advocacy. “More than 460,000 family caregivers in the state help care for aging parents, spouses and other loved ones so they can remain at home – as opposed to costly institutions. These family caregivers provide unpaid care valued at a staggering $5.5 BILLION annually.”
Family caregivers are increasingly required to undertake tasks that were once in the domain of only doctors and nurses: complex medication management, wound care, injections. Yet, many receive little or no training for these duties.
To address this issue, AARP Oregon is fighting for a commonsense solution called the Caregiver, Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, HB 3378. The care provided by family caregivers continues to increase in complexity. The impact of shorter hospital stays and advances in home-based medical technologies plays out in the health tasks that family caregivers often carry out, including medication management, bandaging and wound care, tube feedings, managing catheters, giving injections or operating medical equipment.
"As someone who has seen my fair share of caregiving for family, this legislation is a welcome proposal. It goes without saying that treating family caregivers as part of the care team is something all hospitals should be doing. Thanks to the CARE Act, it will be,” said Janet Martinez, a Portland resident who is caring for her 93 year old Mother, in testimony yesterday on Oregon House Bill 3378.
When the basic tasks of life become more difficult due to aging or illness, the family caregiver wants (and needs) more resources and training (76%) in order to properly care for their loved one, according to the survey.
Oregon House Bill 3378, known as The CARE Act, helps family caregivers when their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. The bill features three important provisions that require hospitals to adopt policies to ensure that:
- The name of the family caregiver is recorded when a loved one is admitted into a hospital;
- The family caregiver is notified if the loved one is to be discharged to another facility or back home; and,
- The hospital provides an explanation and live instruction of the medical tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers – that the family caregiver will perform at home.
The demands on the family caregiver are taking an increasing toll on them. The report found that those who take on this unpaid role to help loved ones remain in their own homes and communities risk stress, depression, physical health problems, social isolation, competing demands and financial hardship and thus, are vulnerable themselves. Another AARP study, Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard, rated Oregon 41st out of 50 states that rate poorly on Oregon Caregiver stress.
This AARP telephone survey on caregiving was conducted among Oregon voters age 45 and older. The survey was fielded from July 14th to 17th, 2014. A total of 800 interviews were completed and the sample was weighted to reflect the age and gender of the registered voter population age 45 and older in Oregon. The margin of sampling error for this random sample is +/- 3.5 percent. A complete copy of the survey, The Growing Dimensions of Caregiving in America: 2014 AARP Oregon Caregiving Survey, can be found at http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2014/oregon-caregiving-i....
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