Congress passes and President Trump signs the RAISE Family Caregivers Act
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This is Part I in a two-part series on the passage and signing into law of the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act.
The bi-partisan law directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and sustain a national strategy to recognize and support the more than 40 million family caregivers in the United States. It also establishes an advisory body that will bring together stakeholders from the private and public sectors to make recommendations that communities, providers, government and others may take to help caregivers.
While RAISE does not authorize additional funding for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), it does mandate the development of a strategy within a 3-year period. Richards said RAISE calls for the creation of an advisory council that will be required to issue a report to HHS Secretary Eric D. Harganwithin a year of the law’s enactment. Hargan will then be required to issue a national strategy within 18 months of the law’s enactment. Going forward, the advisory council will be required to provide the secretary annual progress reports.
Some of the topics that will likely be addressed to support caregivers, according to Richards, include:
-- Respite services and options.
-- Workplace flexibility, financial security and workplace issues.
-- Information, education and training support for navigating the healthcare system.
-- Assessment and service planning (including care transitions and coordination) involving recipients and family caregivers.
-- Broad consideration of person-and family-centered care in all health and LTSS settins, with the person and the family caregiver (when appropriate) at the center of care teams.
Caregivers take on physical, emotional and financial challenges, commonly experiencing emotional strain and mental health problems. According to AARP research, caregivers suffer depression and have poorer physical health than noncaregivers. They're often employed and juggling work and caregiving responsibilities simultaneously.
They generally do not receive training or other assistance to help them provide care and often aren’t even recognized and included by health care and social service providers helping their loved ones.
Also according to AARP research, caregivers (age 50 and older) who leave the workforce to care for a parent lose, on average, nearly $304,000 in wages and benefits over their lifetime. "Family caregivers will only face greater strains in the future as the 'caregiver support ratio'--or the number of potential family caregivers aged 45-64 for each person aged 80+--shrinks. In 2010, the ratio was more than seven potential caregivers for every person in the high-risk years of 80-+. By 2030, this ratio is projected to decline sharply to 4 to 1 and to less than 3 to 1 in 2050."