Caregiving-related legislation has increased over the past decade. Governments at the local, state, and federal level are beginning to recognize the importance of caregivers and developing policies to better support them. Critical to the success of these policy changes are reports such as The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Families Caring for an Aging America (2016). The expert committee, Chaired by Center for Caregiving Director Dr. Richard Schulz, examined the nation's caregiving population, providing an overview of the prevalence and nature of family caregiving of older adults, as well as the impact caregiving has on the individual's health, economic security, and overall well-being. The report evaluated the effectiveness of programs and interventions currently in place to support family caregivers. The report closed with recommendations related to developing a national strategy to effectively engage and support caregivers.
In 2015, researchers at the Health Policy Institute published a report Addressing the Health Needs of an Aging America: New Opportunities for Evidence-Based Policy Solutions. The report systematically mapped the landscape of research evidence and policy recommendations to identify opportunities for evidence-based policies to address the changing health needs of the aging US population. The results therein provided a comprehensive and unbiased view of the best-available evidence and policy activity around healthcare for older adults.
To date, thirty-five states have enacted the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act to support the integration of caregivers into hospital discharge planning and post-acute care processes. The Act requires that hospital healthcare providers
ask patients if they want to designate a caregiver on their medical records when admitted to the hospital
notify the identified caregiver when the patient is to be discharged home or transferred to another medical facility
offer instruction to caregivers on post-acute healthcare tasks to be performed in the home
- Passage of the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S.1028/H.R.3759) last year (2017), solidified recognition for caregiving at the federal level. It requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop strategies to systematically include, assess, and address caregivers' needs, problems, and strengths in the care planning for their loved ones.