Family Caregivers Are Important!
November is Family Caregivers Awareness month, a time to honor family caregivers. Those who take care, every day, not just on occasion. A very tough job, filled with love and honor.
A growing number of states are recognizing the valuable role caregivers play. So far, 30 states have passed laws similar to help recognize caregivers the CARE Act, an act which holds hospitals accountable for recording the name of the family caregiver in the patient’s EMR, informing them when the patient is to be discharged and often providing education and instruction of the medical tasks he or she will need to perform for the patient at home.
As a caretaker, the demands can be challenging for an already exhausted clinical staff. According to AARP, organizations are stretched thin, and providers need help reaching patients and their circle of care. According to a 2012 article in the Annals of Family Medicine, the average primary care physician has about 2,300 patients under his or her care. Yet each physician would have to spend 21.7 hours per day to provide all recommended acute, chronic and preventive care for a panel of 2,500 patients.
Family or at-home caregivers can help bridge this gap. When these caregivers are properly trained and educated, they extend the care team, keeping patients healthy at home and reducing preventable readmissions.
Yet, educating family or at-home caregivers takes time too. Luckily, technology can help. When designed effectively, technology can be a powerful tool to extend the reach of the care team and enable them to have an ongoing conversation with patients – and their caregivers.
Technology can help solve both patient engagement and caregiver education. Because technology can also collect key information for providers— like whether people still have questions around new medications, if the patient has new symptoms or side effects, or a patient with heart failure has gained weight — it can help providers know when specific patients and their caregivers need more help, enabling them to focus their limited staff resources on the people who need it most. If done right, patients will be empowered to take control of their own health, and their circle of care will be educated and accounted for—all without exhausting staff resources.
It is important to focus on family and at-home caregivers, as they provide value and play a critical role in a patient’s optimal recovery. Caregivers not only monitor medication, provide transportation and prepare meals—they also give the patient encouragement and emotional support.
Are you a caregiver and need some advice? We can help. Talk to your doctor.
Tags: caregiver, family caregiver