Until this year, Indiana was ranked at the bottom of all states for support of family caregivers, but the CARE Act, a law that went into effect January 1, 2016, now provides better assistance for the 1.3 million Hoosiers who care for loved ones. The acronym CARE stands for Caregiver Advise, Record, and Enable.
“Caregiving is a difficult task,” says Ambre Marr, AARP state legislative director, “and this new law helps caregivers be more engaged and informed. What we’re trying to do is improve coordination and communication between family caregivers, their loved ones, who are the patients, and hospitals,” Marr explains.
The three main benefits of the new legislation, as our attorneys often discuss with clients of Geyer Law, include:
- When a loved one is admitted for treatment to a hospital or rehab facility, the name of the family caregiver must be recorded.
- When the patient is discharged to either another facility or released to their home, the caregiver must be notified.
- The hospital or rehab facility must provide in-person (or recorded) instruction about the medical tasks the caregiver will need to provide.
Who can name a Lay Caregiver? You or your health care representative may name a friend or family member as the caregiver. The three principles underlying the new law, Marr explains, are described on the information cards that AARP distributes:
The plan for at-home care is not left up to the Lay Caregiver, but is developed by a nurse, social worker, or licensed healthcare professional. The plan will help the caregiver help the patient at home with:
- Activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, moving from bed to chair and back, toileting, taking medications, food preparation, etc.)
- Managing wound care
- Administering medications
- Operating equipment
Now that House Enrolled Act No. 1265 has been passed into law, appointing a Lay Caregiver becomes an important step in preparing an estate plan, not to be confused with the Healthcare Power of Attorney, which is a legal document authorizing someone to make decisions about your healthcare when you cannot.
The idea behind the Indiana CARE ACT is to ease a patient’s transition from hospital to home, helping caregivers provide assistance to friends or family members.
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates blog team