People who are responsible for the care of frail elderly relatives may be interested in a bill that has just passed the NJ Assembly and is headed to the state Senate for consideration. The bill is A2955. http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/A3000/2955_R1.HTMA2955
The bill is designed to improve discharge planning for patients returning to their homes, and to decrease the frequency of readmissions. The bill requires hospitals to provide the patient’s designated “caregiver” with basic training and information concerning the patient’s specific post-discharge health care plan. Within 24 hours of admission and no less than 4 hours before discharge, the hospital must ask the patient if they wish to designate who the caregiver is. The “Caregiver” is not necessarily the home health aide who is employed by the patient — it seems to be the person who resides with the patient or at least is most closely connected with coordinating their care plan. The definition is ” any individual designated as a caregiver by a patient pursuant to this act who provides after-care assistance to a patient in the patient’s residence. The term includes, but is not limited to, a relative, 1spouse,1 partner, friend, or neighbor who has a significant relationship with the patient.”
While the bill uses the terms ‘the patient or their legal guardian,” presumably the previously-designated Agent under a Power of Attorney or the Health Care Representative/Proxy could identify the patient designated caregiver and sign the necessary forms.
It can be particularly challenging to provide care for a patient who has Alzheimers Disease or other dementia which interferes with their ability to remember or report symptoms and pain. Home care involves more than just administering medication or ensuring safety and assisting with the activities of daily living (ADLs) (bathing, feeding, toileting, transferring, dressing and ambulating). Additional training in the nuances of a patient’s medical condition can only be helpful to patients and caregivers alike.
If this issue is of interest to you, you may want to contact your State Senator.
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