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NV State Senator Awarded for Helping Caregivers

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Nevada State Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, accepts the Capitol Caregiver Award at the National Conference of State Legislatures for her work in helping to pass the CARE Act. Courtesy: AARP Nevada
Nevada State Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, accepts the Capitol Caregiver Award at the National Conference of State Legislatures for her work in helping to pass the CARE Act. Courtesy: AARP Nevada
 By Mike Clifford/Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV, Contact
August 12, 2015

CARSON CITY, Nev. - A Nevada lawmaker is being recognized for her work in helping to gain passage of the CARE Act in Nevada, which benefits thousands of unpaid caregivers.

State Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, who received the Capitol Caregiver Award at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual summit in Seattle earlier this month, said caring for her ailing mother and dealing with her own health struggles have helped to inform her perspective on caregiving.

"I was caring for my mother, who was dying of breast cancer - and then in January, as you might know, I got diagnosed myself with brain cancer," she said. "And so, I have needed a lot of care from my family members."

Earlier this year, Nevada lawmakers passed the Caregiver, Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act. Smith said it requires hospitals to enter a family caregiver's name in the medical record at the time a patient is admitted and notify the caregiver when the patient is due to be released. It also ensures that the caregiver is instructed in any follow-up care needed at home, such as dressing wounds or managing prescriptions.

"Provide more training and education for caregivers," she said, "and in that training they can learn about what other services are available that they can avail themselves of."

Research from the AARP Public Policy Institute shows that in a recent year, 348,000 unpaid caregivers in Nevada provided care valued at more than $4 billion.

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