A coalition of advocates and health care groups is calling on Iowa legislators to pass what’s called the Iowa CARE Act to help anyone who needs home care as well as the caregivers.
CARE stands for Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable — which recognizes the critical role family caregivers play in keeping their loved ones out of costly institutions. Kent Sovern, state director of AARP in Iowa, says the legislation is both common sense and no-cost.
“The 2018 Iowa Care Act supports Iowa’s 317,000 family caregivers,” Sovern says, “and when I say family, that also includes friends, neighbors, loved ones, people who are providing in-home care, non-paid to their friends, relatives and so forth.” The act would allow someone who’s being admitted to a hospital to designate a caregiver upon their discharge. That caregiver would be informed of the person’s status and upon the patient’s discharge, the caregiver would also be notified about care that’ll be needed, including pain and medicine management.
“Our hospitals give amazing care throughout Iowa,” Sovern says, “but it’s really a flip of the coin as to whether the caregiver is designated and receives this kind of information and instruction upon discharge.” The last time he was being discharged from a hospital, Sovern says he was very anxious to leave, plus, he was on medication.
“Even as I received the instructions for my after-care, I’m not sure I completely understood that based on both my emotional feelings at the time as well as the physical, being under the influence,” Sovern says. “I was fortunate to have my family caregiver there to listen, to take notes and to be informed about that.” He says 36 states have passed legislation identical to or similar to the Iowa Care Act in collaboration with health care providers and other community interest groups.