SAN DIEGO, January 30, 2018: On January 22, 2018, President Donald Trump signed H.R.3759 into law, demonstrating his recognition for the challenges facing family caregivers. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Harper, Gregg [R-MS-3].
Known as RAISE Family Caregivers Act, this new legislation promises to provide relief for the burdens of family caregiving through a massive national social and governmental engagement effort.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services Agency, in conjunction with leadership within several key Federal Committees, will form an Advisory Council to address the most pressing issues impacting family caregivers today, with the charge of developing a Family Caregiving Strategy for review and consideration within 18 months following the Law’s enactment.
Gathering the RAISE experts
Up to 15 voting members who are not affiliated with Federal agencies will be appointed to the Advisory Council for well-rounded dialogue, within H.R.3759, which includes knowledgeable appointees with expertise in the following areas:
- Family caregivers.
- Older adults with long-term services and supports.
- Individuals with disabilities.
- Long-term services and supports providers.
- Paraprofessional workers.
- State and local officials.
- Accreditation bodies.
- Miscellaneous experts and advocacy organizations who are engaged with family caregivers.
Public input will be actively sought as an important part of the dialogue, bringing personalization and understanding of experiences and issues of the family caregiver.
RAISE offers a holistic approach
RAISE Family Caregivers Act is, therefore, a holistic approach to providing dialogue and expertise from the bottom up, which will help to ensure what this ground-breaking bill intends to accomplish:
“Promoting greater adoption of person-and-family-centered care in all health and long-term services and supports settings, with the person receiving services and supports and the family caregiver (as appropriate) at the center of care teams.”
All aspects of caring for a loved one will be assessed, from financial considerations, patient assessments, service selections, care coordination, education, training, and workplace issues resulting into a more supportive, family-friendly and responsive integration of care.
With approximately 40 million caregivers in America, there is no denying the emotional, physical and financial toll caring for a loved one can take.
According to Next Avenue, nearly 1 in 10 caregivers is 75 or older, with 40 percent of caregivers from all age groups providing high levels of care, with a reported 18 percent reporting a moderate burden of care.
Though women tend to be the primary family caregiver, approximately 40 percent are male.
The dynamics of being a family caregiver have a significant impact especially for those who lack adequate or available social and other supports. It is not uncommon for a family caregiver to withdraw from employment and/or social engagement activities, becoming progressively more physically and emotionally stressed by the burdens of caring for a loved one as their own lives become unintentionally diminished.
An aging population challenged by fewer family caregivers
It is estimated that “By mid-century, there will be only three family caregivers available for each person requiring care,” according to AARP Public Policy Institute, published in nextavenue.org.
Therefore, as the US population continues becoming older, there will be fewer family caregivers to care for their loved ones, increasing the demand for new and more innovative methods of providing care.
Workforce labor shortages in healthcare already exist which provides current and new opportunities for developing educational programs and quality training to meet what is known to be an ever-increasing demand for ever increasing populations of seniors, disabled, developmentally disabled and Veterans of all ages.
RAISE: Aid for the family caregiver
H.R.3759 brings what it means to a family caregiver to the forefront of the long-term care system to the fore, with immense implications to health care, social services, medical care and labor.
Collectively, all aspects of these immense federal and state systems, combined with non-federal experts and public input, this law promises a greater understanding not only of the family caregiver but of our society as a whole.
With the goal of utilizing existing resources and revenues, it needs to account for the ever-changing demographics and the need for paid caregivers and volunteers to increasingly provide more care to supplement a dwindling supply of family caregivers over time.
Further, there is the opportunity to eliminate wasteful use of health care and medical expenditures, streamlining departments, procedures, services and expenditures.
The utilization of paraprofessional, non-medical home care aides in the home, institutional and other settings will grow in need and numbers.
And the use of technology in the home and other healthcare and medical settings will continue to flourish.
What remains to be seen is how much waste can be reduced within an environment which is already stretched by over demand and dwindling resources and reimbursements.
The RAISE Family Caregiver act is a promising new law, with a cautionary tale by some to consider increased resources and funding for successful models already in existence.
And, to not overvalue the role of a family caregiver from the standpoint of having the capacity to continue along the same caring path, to the same extent currently provided; and, from a place of such devotion that it threatens their very existence.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!