AARP advocates back Patient Caregiver Support Act

BOISE, Idaho - More than 100 AARP volunteers and staff members were inside the Idaho Statehouse Thursday to advocate on behalf of AARP members and older Idahoans on the issue of family caregiving.

The volunteers met with legislators and asked them to support home caregivers who perform medical and nursing tasks for elderly or infirm loved ones through the Patient Caregiver Support Act. 

The bill features three provisions for hospitals:

  • Upon admission into a hospital, the patient is asked if they want to record the name of a family caregiver. With the patient’s consent, the name of the family caregiver is recorded.
  • That caregiver is notified when the patient is to be discharged to another facility or back home.
  • The facility must provide instructions of the medical tasks - such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers - that the family caregiver will need to perform at home.

"Folks do not stay in the hospital for very long," Lupe Wissel,  AARP Idaho State Director, said. "They typically go home and the rest and recuperation takes place in the comfort of their own home. The family caregivers are having to do tasks that, in the past, were mostly done by health care professionals." 

In Idaho, it's estimated 200,000 family caregivers provide unpaid care for their loved ones, valued at more than $2 billion annually. 

The legislation awaits a full hearing. 

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