Yesterday, the Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 1298 – the CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable) Act – and, in doing so, took a major step toward helping to ensure that family caregivers in Illinois have the resources and training they need to care for their loved ones at home following a hospital stay.  Sponsored by Sen. Chapin Rose, Senate Bill 1298 provides an added layer of support for the over 2.4 million family caregivers in Illinois.  The bill will now move to the House where Rep. Jerry Costello is the Chief Sponsor.

“AARP thanks Senator Rose for his leadership on this issue and applauds the entire Senate for unanimously voting ‘yes’ on Senate Bill 1298,” said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois State Director.  “We would also like to recognize the collaborative efforts of several organizations, including the Illinois Hospital Association, for working together to ensure passage of the CARE Act.  We urge the House to follow the example set by the Senate and send Senate Bill 1298 to the Governor for signature.”

The CARE Act recognizes the critical role family caregivers play in keeping their loved ones safe at home after hospitalization and out of costly institutions.  The bill features three key provisions:

1. Identification: The name of the family caregiver is recorded when a loved one is admitted into a hospital;

2. Notification: The family caregiver is notified if the loved one is to be discharged home or transferred to another facility; and,

3. Training: The hospital must make an effort to provide an explanation and instructions of the after-care tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers – that the family caregiver may perform at home.

“The Illinois CARE Act recognizes the very important role family caregivers play in keeping their loved ones safe at home after being in the hospital,” State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) said. “This legislation will improve the quality of care of countless Illinoisans and save the taxpayers money in the process by lowering readmissions to hospital emergency rooms.”

Nationally, almost half (46%) of family caregivers perform medical or nursing tasks for their loved ones with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions – and 78% of caregivers who provide these tasks manage medications, including administering intravenous fluids and injections.  Most family caregivers report that they received little or no training to perform these tasks.  Source: Home Alone: Family Caregivers Provide Complex Chronic Care (AARP Public Policy Institute, 2014)

Chapin Rose

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