Apart from home health aides, family caregivers are instrumental to delivering care to patients in the home setting—and now, a bill advocating for the crucial role they play is making its move in Washington.
Titled the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage Family Caregivers Act of 2017—better known as the RAISE Family Caregivers Act—the bill aims to provide for the “establishment and maintenance” of a national family caregiving strategy.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Gregg Harper (MS-R), was introduced in the House in mid September, and recently passed the chamber on December 18. As of press time, the RAISE Act was headed to the Senate for a vote.
A national strategy
The overall goal of the RAISE Act is to identify recommended actions that federal, state and local governments, communities, health care providers and other support providers can take to recognize and support family caregivers with respect to their needs.
These actions, among others, include:
• The promotion of adopting person- and family-centered care in all health and long-term services and supporting settings;
• Information, education and training support;
• Referral and care coordination with hospice, palliative and advance planning care services; and
• Respite options.
On their part, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is tasked with convening a Family Caregiving Advisory Council with the goal of disseminating identified best practices on family caregiving to develop and publish an initial strategy that includes proper protocols for recognizing and supporting family caregivers.
The piece of legislation is backed by various stakeholders, including the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit whose work supports the efforts of family caregivers providing care for wounded, ill or injured service members and veterans at home.
“Veterans have the best chance to recover, improve and thrive when they have a strong, well-supported caregiver,” Sen. Elizabeth Dole, founder of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, said in a press release. “The National Family Caregiving Strategy will identify specific actions that providers, government officials, employers and others can take to recognize and support the unique needs of caregivers that are all too often overlooked.”
Written by Carlo Calma