Senate approves O’Brien’s CARE Act

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate on Thursday approved the CARE Act to help prepare and support in-home caregivers when providing assistance for loved ones after they leave the hospital.

Senate Bill 352, referred to as the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, would provide in-home caregivers, designated by soon-to-be discharged patients, with hospital-provided consultation and instruction for any after-care assistance tasks that do not require a licensed professional once a patient is released. Typical tasks include providing assistance with bathing and dressing, transportation, finances and more complex medical tasks like administering wound care and medication injections.

The training is part of what the legislation calls a discharge plan. Hospitals would work with patients to develop a plan that includes the designation and training of a caregiver for assistance with the basic activities of daily living. Plans must also include a description of all necessary after-care assistance tasks; contact information for any health care, community resources and long-term services and supports that may be needed; and contact information for a hospital employee who may respond to caretaker-related questions.

“Millions of Michigan residents volunteer their time to provide care for their loved ones, and the CARE Act will ensure our caregivers receive the best possible training and support,” said state Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, who introduced the bill last May. “I appreciate the support of my Senate colleagues on this important bill and look forward to working with my colleagues in the House of Representatives.”

According to AARP, family caregiving is increasing in Michigan as baby boomers become older adults. The group’s research suggests Michigan has more than 2 million caregivers at any given time during a calendar year providing 1.4 billion hours of free care to loved ones valued at more than $15.5 billion.

SB 352 now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.