HGH Says CARE Act Will Help Reinforce Exceptional Patient Care

A new bill has made it less likely for a patient to be readmitted to the hospital due to inadequate post-hospital care.

Senate Bill 177, also known as the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act attempts to ensure that before a patient is discharged, a caregiver is trained in what needs to be done to continue to provide exceptional care at home.

The bill was written by the AARP, which estimates that 500,000 Nevadans are serving as caregivers.

“If you’ve ever been a caregiver, you know that good communication from health professionals is critical when it comes to your ability to manage medications and perform other care tasks,” said Humboldt General Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Darlene Bryan, “especially when your family member is coming home from the hospital.”

Bryan said AARP Nevada pressed for the legislation in 2015 in an effort to cut down on re-admissions and help caregivers be better prepared to take care of loved ones at home.

According to Bryan, the new law requires hospitals like Humboldt General to do three things: to enter a family caregiver’s name in the medical record at the time a patient is admitted, to notify the caregiver when the patient is due to be released, and to ensure that the caregiver is instructed in any follow-up care needed at home—such as dressing wounds or managing prescriptions.

Bryan said these common sense steps can make the difference between a successful transition home and a return trip to the hospital, or worse.

AARP Nevada says while hundreds of thousands of Nevadans are currently providing unpaid care for family members or friends—including a third of the Silver State’s Baby Boomers, family caregivers handle medical tasks once performed only in hospitals—but typically receive no training on how to do it.

“We want to make sure we provide caregivers with the best communication possible so they can help their loved one make a smoother transition from hospital to home,” said Bryan.

She added, “Good after-care instruction can make a dramatic difference in a caregiver’s ability to take care of a family member or friend, and it will help the caregiver feel more comfortable in her or her role.”

Bryan said the new law is designed to facilitate improved after-hospital care, but patients can also decline to designate a family caregiver.

For more information on the Nevada CARE Act, please call Humboldt General Hospital at (775) 304-0530 or visit aarp.org/caregiving.