Governor Ige Signs Caregiver Bill into Law
Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige signed into law Thursday a bill requiring hospitals to establish procedures giving family caregivers the opportunity to receive instruction in the medical tasks required when their loved ones are discharged.
Advocates of the “CARE Act” – HB 2252 HD1 SD2 CD1 – say it “paves the way for greater consideration of caregivers in hospital discharge processes.”
The law takes effect July, 2017.
Enactment of the CARE Act marks the culmination of three years of legislative advocacy by the Hawaiʻi CARE Act Coalition, whose 21 member organizations have sought greater support for family caregivers and patients they help to remain at home and out of costly, taxpayer-funded institutional care.
Last month, members of the state House and Senate voted unanimously to pass the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable Act, allowing hospital in-patients to designate a family caregiver, who can receive instruction, prior to discharge, in the medical tasks required when patients go home.
“AARP joins the CARE Act Coalition in thanking state legislators for supporting caregivers, and recognizing their critical role in the care of friends and family members,” said AARP Hawaiʻi State President Gerry Silva. “We are pleased that Governor Ige has signed into law this important bill that helps caregivers provide much-needed care to the people they love.”
There are more than 154,000 unpaid family caregivers in Hawaiʻi, like Waipahu resident Deidre De Jesus, whom AARP representatives say, “takes on huge responsibilities that can be overwhelming, stressful and exhausting.” De Jesus, 24, and her mom, Elvira, took turns providing intense care for their dad and husband, Jimmy, who died of congestive heart failure in 2013, and was in and out of the hospital numerous times.
“My dad was discharged at least once a month for six months,” said Deidre. “It was a difficult transition because we had so much support in the hospital. At home, it was just me and my mom providing my dad with care…. It was difficult for him and for us.”
“As the state’s population ages, unpaid caregivers are under increasing pressure to care for loved ones at home – especially those with chronic conditions who are frequently readmitted,” said AARP representatives. According to the organization, family caregivers provide increasingly complex care services – including injections, tube feedings, and medication management to older loved ones at home. Collectively, Hawaiʻi’s caregivers provided unpaid care valued at $2.1 billion in 2013 alone.
Hawaiʻi CARE Act Coalition
The Caregiver Foundation
County of Kauaʻi, Agency on Elderly Affairs
Disabled American Veterans – Maui Chapter 2
Faith Action for Community Equity
Hawaiʻi Alliance for Retired Americans
Hawaiʻi Family Caregiver Coalition
ILWU Local 142
Korean War Veterans Chapter 282
Lahaina Hongwanji Mission
Maui Adult Day Care Centers
Maui County Office on Aging
Maui County Veterans Association
Nā Koa Kahiko Wahine
Policy Advisory Board for Elder Affairs
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3850