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Oregon Legislation Puts Family Caregivers On the Care Team

Jon Bartholomew with AARP Oregon says its survey found 85 percent of Oregonians want to live independently at home for as long as possible, with the help of family caregivers. November is National Caregiver's Month. Courtesy: AARP
Jon Bartholomew with AARP Oregon says its survey found 85 percent of Oregonians want to live independently at home for as long as possible, with the help of family caregivers. November is National Caregiver's Month. Courtesy: AARP
November 2, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. - Family caregivers in Oregon are getting more support to help them take care of the medical needs of a loved one. The CARE Act, which goes into effect Jan. 1, aims to better integrate a person's caregiver into the hospital discharge process.

Jon Bartholomew, government relations director for AARP Oregon, says it helps make family members a part of the care team.

"What this should do on several levels is provide better care for the patient, lower stress for the family caregiver and also, reduce hospital re-admissions," says Bartholomew.

The legislation requires hospitals to record a family caregiver's name and notify them when their loved one is discharged, as well as provide written discharge instructions. The caregiver will also be given a demonstration of any medical tasks they'll need to perform at home, such as wound care or injections.

November is National Family Caregivers Month, and Bartholomew says every Oregonian should be thinking about what it means to be a caregiver.

"Whether it's a short-term, taking care of somebody after a hospitalization, or taking care of a parent or spouse with Alzheimer's disease," he says. "The CARE Act is one piece of that puzzle, and Caregiver Month is all about letting folks know what else is out there for you."

An AARP survey conducted last year found 85 percent of Oregonians said they want to live independently at home for as long as possible, with the help of family caregivers.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - OR