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New Utah Rules Allow Patients to Designate Caregiver

New regulations in Utah now allow patients entering a hospital to designate a family caregiver that will be the official contact person. (wirelog/morguefile)
New regulations in Utah now allow patients entering a hospital to designate a family caregiver that will be the official contact person. (wirelog/morguefile)
February 11, 2016

MIDVALE, Utah - A new rule in Utah gives important new rights to family caregivers when a loved one is in the hospital. The Patient Designated Caregiver Rule, proposed by AARP Utah and issued by the Utah Department of Health, allows each patient to designate a caregiver, who is notified when there is a discharge or transfer, and receive instruction from the hospital about any required after-care.

Alan Ormsby, state director of AARP Utah, says what caregivers provide is not only important, but very valuable.

"We really respect the work that the 350,000 caregivers do to take care of their family members," says Ormsby. "It's well over $4 billion worth of services each year that they provide, so anything we can do to relieve caregiver burden, that's a good thing."

Ormbsby says the rule is designed to not only keep caregivers in the loop on the what is happening with the patient, but to make sure they have proper training to help the patient with tasks such as managing prescriptions or applying a dressing once they are home.

Ormsby adds the Utah Hospital Association played a key role in developing the rule. He says the hospital group felt providing caregivers with proper training would ultimately result in better patient outcomes.

"We talked with the hospitals about that and they said 'Yeah, we think we're doing a pretty good job with this anyway, and why not make it the standard.'" he says. "When a person is released from the hospital, then there is some degree of training that goes on."

The Patient Designated Caregiver Rule is based on AARP's CARE Act, developed to help caregivers better provide for loved ones in the hospital. Currently, 18 states and Puerto Rico have adopted the CARE Act and several more are considering it.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - UT