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May 12, 2014
Oklahoma Passes First In The Nation "Care Act" Supporting Family Caregivers

With the signature of Governor Mary Fallin on Senate Bill 1536Oklahoma today becomes the first state in the nation to pass The CARE ACT.  Backed by AARP, the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act has been introduced in IL, NJ and HI.  Other states are working to pass a State Plan in Support of Family Caregivers or advancing additional initiatives to support family caregivers such as workplace protections and respite care.  Following is a statement from AARP Vice President of State Advocacy and Strategy Integration (SASI) in AARP's Government Affairs group on the new Oklahoma Law:

“I was a family caregiver for my Mom and Pop for more than 15 years. After all they’d done for me it was my pleasure to care for them.  But the tasks were intimidating.  Like me, 42 Million family caregivers in America are eager to help but are challenged by medical responsibilities that come home from the hospital with our loved ones.

“Today, with the signing of The CARE Act, Oklahoma’s 600,000 family caregivers will have new support when their loved ones go into the hospital as well as consultation on the tasks they must provide to safely care for their loved ones when they’re discharged home.

“As the first state to pass The CARE Act, Oklahoma is the pacer for many other states ready to introduce or vote out The CARE Act and state plans and initiatives to help family caregivers as they assist their loved ones to live independently at home as they age.  We look also forward to seeing many more state legislatures get behind bills to support family caregivers.  After all, we know that family caregiving is an act of love, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t real work that requires real support.”

The CARE Act requires hospitals to:

  • Record the name of the family caregiver when a loved one is admitted into a hospital;
  • Notify the family caregiver if the loved one is to be discharged to another facility or back home; and,
  • Consult and prepare the family caregiver on the medical tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers – that he/she may perform at home.

More information on The CARE Act in Oklahoma is included in Elaine Ryan’s blog here:http://blog.aarp.org/2014/04/14/caring-for-our-spouses/

CONTACT
Nancy Thompson
(202) 434-2560
nthompson@aarp.org