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New Ohio Law Expected to Empower Caregivers

1.4 million Ohioans provide unpaid care for loved ones. (Pixabay)
1.4 million Ohioans provide unpaid care for loved ones. (Pixabay)
December 20, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Governor John Kasich signed legislation on Monday that will help Ohioans who provide unpaid care to loved ones. The Ohio Caregiving Act ensures hospital patients' designated family caregivers will be given crucial guidance on home care instructions once their loved one is discharged from the hospital.

Caregiving became an around-the-clock job for Andrea Tayek of Shaker Heights when her mother, who was suffering from a chronic pain disorder impacting her facial nerves, was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic. And she understands the complex medical tasks and decisions caregivers must undertake during stressful situations.

"Making sure her medications were given on time, same thing with her tube feedings," she said. "I was probably the biggest pain on the floor with the nursing staff but there's been plenty of times when there’s been miscommunication."

The act passed the House and Senate with unanimous support and is expected to help nearly one and a half million Ohio caregivers. According to AARP Ohio, only about half of caregivers receive training on how to perform medical tasks when a loved one leaves a hospital.

Tayek said when family caregivers are empowered; there is a better chance their loved ones can recover safely at home. And she added trust is also important: her mother knew she was the only one who could make the best decisions possible for her care.

"It makes her feel safe to know that I'm there," she added. "It also helped her recover quicker having me by her side. The Ohio Caregiving Act will allow caregivers like me to access the resources necessary to care for their loved ones."

Supporters say the act will help reduce hospital re-admissions and the need for nursing home or institutional care. Similar legislation is in place in 34 other states.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH