Information and resources that support your role in caring for a loved one.

Just in time for the holiday season, family caregivers in Massachusetts received some good news on Monday, as Governor Charlie Baker signed the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act into law.

In a press release, AARP Massachusetts noted that “the CARE Act, known in the Massachusetts Legislature as H.3911, recognizes the critical role family caregivers play in keeping their loved ones at home, and out of costly institutions. In 2015 in Massachusetts, family caregivers provided 786 million hours of unpaid care valued at approximately $11.6 billion annually.”

The provisions of the CARE Act include mandating that hospital patients are provided with an opportunity to designate a family caregiver; that the family caregiver is notified if the patient is to be discharged to another facility or back home; and that the hospital or facility must provide an explanation and live instruction of the medical tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care and transfers – that the family caregiver will perform at home.

“In signing the Care Act, Massachusetts has joined a national movement that is raising awareness about the tremendous contributions of family caregivers,” said Elder Affairs Secretary Alice Bonner in the AARP release. “Taking good care of patients means taking care of family caregivers as well.”

Massachusetts is the 34th state to pass the CARE Act, and AARP Massachusetts was one of the driving forces in lobbying for its passage in the Commonwealth.

“On behalf of our 800,000 members in Massachusetts, we thank sponsors Senator Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Dorchester) and Representative Chris Walsh (D-Framingham) for their leadership and tenacious advocacy on behalf of all family caregivers,” said Mike Festa, AARP Massachusetts State Director.  “This law provides essential support to unpaid caregivers who are often called on to provide complex medical care for which they receive little or no instruction. Additionally, we thank the 16 partner organizations that supported this bill and our tireless band of volunteer advocates who stood with us and supported the CARE Act through this legislative session.”

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