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Health & Medicine

People Caring for Loved Ones at Home Could Get Help From New Bill Approved in Albany

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  Family members taking care of relatives at home may be receiving more thorough training about how to look after their loved ones.  Both the New York State Senate and the Assembly passed the CARE Act which mandates education for family care givers.  Tracy Murphy of Syracuse has to look after her mother when she came home from the hospital.

  “It was scary.  My mother actually went into the hospital and when it was time to release her, they told me on the day she was going to be released that they were going to have to show me how to give her injections, something that I had never had to do before.  But it was scary going home with very brief instructions, knowing that I would have to do this or she would have to remain in the hospital."

Murphy explains her mother gets a little assistance, but not with things directly related to her health care.

“She’s in a senior apartment.  She has friends who she can interact with.  She can look out her window at a garden.  She has the ability to have a visiting care provider thanks to the office for the aging, 4 hours a week, who does minimal housework and bathing and things.” 

AARP New York State Lobbyist Bill Ferris explains the act will help to eliminate some of the stress and anxiety people deal with when they have to perform medical tasks that they’re unfamiliar with. 

“There is a discharge plan.  Hopefully this law, soon, will instruct hospitals to instruct caregivers exactly what is in that discharge plan and give them the opportunity to ask any questions of what is required once their loved one goes home.  So we think this will certainly help the patient, the caregiver and the hospitals.”

The CARE Act still needs Governor Cuomo's Signature, after passing both houses of the legislature

  The law will require hospitals to show family members how to operate medical equipment, dress wounds, and administer multiple medications. Informed care givers, Ferris adds, can keep patients out of hospitals and emergency rooms.

“What is connected with readmission is that when people are discharged from the hospital the care at home isn’t sufficient.  They’re not following their medications; they’re not changing their bandages, or any aftercare is not being fulfilled.  We think when we train the caregivers when their loved ones are discharged from the hospitals, it will be better for the hospitals and stopping readmissions.” 

Ferris notes the goal is to allow people to stay in their homes whther aging or convalescing, both for health and happiness, but also for cost reasons.  

AARP is hopeful Governor Cuomo will sing this new law, especially because he proposed a similar law earlier this year. Once Cuomo signs it, the measure will go into effect 180 days later.