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PNS Daily Newscast - September 24 


The ground rules seem to have been set concerning the sexual assault allegations against nominee Brett Kavenaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: we will take you to a state where more than 60 thousand kids are chronically absent; plus the rural digital divide a two-fold problem for Kentucky.

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CARE Act: Training on Medical Tasks for MN Family Caregivers

PHOTO: Legislation to help support the 670,000 unpaid family caregivers in Minnesota is among the bills that will be considered when lawmakers reconvene in January. Photo credit: Henry Rabinowitz.
PHOTO: Legislation to help support the 670,000 unpaid family caregivers in Minnesota is among the bills that will be considered when lawmakers reconvene in January. Photo credit: Henry Rabinowitz.
December 1, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. - As the number of Minnesotans who are family caregivers continues to increase, also growing is the complexity of the medical tasks they're doing and that's something Minnesota lawmakers are being asked to address. When the Legislature convenes in 2015, they'll consider what's called the CARE Act. Mary Jo George, advocacy director with AARP Minnesota, says it aims to smooth the transition from hospital to home.

"To help these caregivers with training of tasks they are expected to do," George says. "One of the things we've learned is many family caregivers are performing nursing and medical tasks they do not have the proper training for."

George says the training under the CARE Act would cover areas such as injections, wound care and medication management. It would also ensure hospitals have a person's caregiver on record and they are notified upon transfer or discharge.

The need for such training and support is the focus this week AARP volunteers from across the state are meeting with their legislators ahead of the coming session. Among them will be Ken Zaiken of Rochester, who had family providing care during his health issues including a stem-cell transplant, a heart-valve replacement and several forms of cancer.

"The patient is focusing on themselves, trying to get themselves better," says Zaiken. "The caregiver has to deal with that plus maintain whatever the normal life is. If you've got a household with kids, if you've got dual-incomes and suddenly one is gone, these are all pressures that mainly fall on the caregivers."

The latest figures show there are more than 670,000 family caregivers statewide.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN