Governor Cuomo Signs the Care Act into Law

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New York State legislature has passed the Caregiver Advice, Record and Enable (CARE) Act.  It was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on October 26, 2015 and will take effect in April, 2016.  The primary focus of this new law is to offer assistance to patients and their caregivers after they are discharged from the hospital.

Upon being discharged from the hospital, there are many concerns as to how the patient’s care will be continued at home.  This makes an already challenging situation even more stressful for the patient as well as the caregiver who is responsible for providing that care.  That care does not only include assistance for the activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, and bathing, but for more involved procedures such as medication administration, the handling of medical equipment and possibly even wound care.

The first thing a patient will be required to do is to assign someone to be their family caregiver.  Once this is done and the hospital is alerted to the patient’s choice, they will then be obligated to notify that caregiver 24 hours prior to discharge.  They will then also be required, by law, to provide the caregiver with all the necessary information and if necessary, training, that would be necessary to properly care for the patient upon their release.

Seeing the value of this Act, AARP is an enthusiastic advocate to get this passed throughout the country.  New York is now the 18th state that has passed a version of the Act.  Part of the reason for AARP’s participation in getting this passed, is the knowledge that nearly 40 million caregivers throughout the United States currently provide unpaid care for a family member.  As startling as that is, what’s even more upsetting is that the number of caregivers that will be available in the coming years is expected to dramatically decrease leaving many people unassisted in the most fragile time in their lives.

The main purpose of passing this Act is to help alleviate the stress and concern of patients when they are being discharged and require further care.  It will allow them to choose their caregiver, and have the hospital train that caregiver thereby eliminating a lot of worry.  In addition, by educating caregivers with clear instructions within the discharge plan, it will most likely decrease the need for that patient to have to enter another facility for their aftercare.

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