Massachusetts Senate Adopts Caregiver Advice and Records Enablement Standards (C.A.R.E.) Act

Boston–  The Massachusetts state Senate today advanced a bill intended to provide family caregivers with critically needed information and guidance to effectively care for a patient once released from a hospital.

The bi-partisan backed legislation was co-sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R – Gloucester) who called the bill “a big boost for the more than 800,000 Massachusetts families who are currently caring for disabled, elder, or frail family members.”

“Many families want to provide care for a relative when they come back from the hospital but they often don’t know the best way to help; the CARE act will make sure that every discharged patient will have an after-care plan that is right for them and that can be followed by an at-home caregiver,” said Tarr.

Post hospitalization care helps promote independent living because discharged patients are less likely to return to a hospital which also reduces exposure to the expense of medical care.  According to the Massachusetts AARP, a proponent of the bill, the value of unpaid family care is estimated to be worth more than $11 billion each year in the state.

“Being a caregiver for a loved one is a serious responsibility and it takes a lot of coordination and effort, I co-sponsored this bill because no one should feel left alone or without resource,” said Tarr.  “The focus of caregivers should be on healing, and not hunting down paperwork and elusive information.”

The bill requires hospitals to provide information and instructions about administering medications, caring for wounds require hospitals to provide designated family caregivers and other tasks before a patient is discharged.  Patients will be given an opportunity to designate someone as a caregiver who will then be provided with discharge plans and aftercare needs.

The bill now moves to the House for future action.