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ND Groups Ready for Questions about New Caregiving Law

Caregivers are often asked to follow complex medical procedures for a loved one when they're released from a hospital, sometimes with minimal instruction. (Jack Lund/Adobe Stock)
Caregivers are often asked to follow complex medical procedures for a loved one when they're released from a hospital, sometimes with minimal instruction. (Jack Lund/Adobe Stock)
July 8, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. – A new state law is expected to help family caregivers and hospitals in North Dakota better manage a patient's transition home.

The CARE Act goes into effect Aug. 1, and it will ensure that patients and their caregivers are provided with an explanation and demonstration of any medical tasks they'll need to perform at home.

Josh Askvig, state director of AARP North Dakota, says the goal is to provide clarity, both for hospitals and caregivers, for how to best manage what can be a stressful situation.

"That transition from a hospital setting to home – that's often where things get missed, lost, mistaken or undone,” he states. “And so, making sure that we have a bridge, and an open dialogue, so that that transition happens in a smooth manner."

AARP will host a telephone town hall on July 16 to discuss CARE Act implementation and what caregivers should anticipate once the law takes effect.

Participants can register ahead of time at aarp.org/nd.

Askvig explains that caregivers often have to follow complex medical procedures for a loved one, including prescription management and physical care, whether they're ready for it or not. The new law says they'll get that basic training.

"What would seemingly be simple – transitioning somebody from wheelchair to a bed, how to do that safely and properly so you don't injure that patient – all the way to people sent home with very detailed wound dressings that have to be covered a certain way,” he points out. “So, making sure they're shown how to do that.”

Askvig says the town hall call will cover both patients' and caregivers' rights, as well as how to ensure a caregiver is prepared once the patient returns home.

"Oftentimes, family caregivers aren't sure what questions they should be asking, or can they ask questions?” he says. “Or can they push back if they're not sure about something?

“At the end the day, neither the family member wants to go back to the hospital if they don't have to, and the hospital wants them to go home and stay safe as well."

AARP and the North Dakota Hospital Association collaborated to get the CARE Act passed, and Askvig says they'll continue to work to ensure that hospitals and caregivers work better together.

Disclosure: AARP North Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - ND