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AARP and GetWellNetwork Team Up to Help Hospitals Better Prepare Caregivers and Support CARE Act Compliance

AARP and GetWellNetwork announced from Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2019 that they are collaborating to make sorely needed instructional resources for family caregivers accessible in the hospital setting for the first time. Designed in response to the Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable Act (CARE Act), the interactive Family Caregiver Features include how-to videos and an option to designate a caregiver in a patient’s medical record.

More than 40 million individuals, mostly family members, provide care to loved ones who wish to recover or “age in place.” Nearly half of family caregivers regularly perform complex treatments, such as wound care, injections and managing special diets and 78 percent manage multiple medications, often with little to no guidance. As a result, many family caregivers feel uncertain, overwhelmed and are fearful of causing harm. AARP and GetWellNetwork are addressing this gap in care delivery by ensuring caregivers have the knowledge and support to provide optimal care beyond the hospital or doctor’s office.

The 16 videos, produced by the Home Alone Alliance, a collaborative group of organizations including AARP, focused on supporting family caregivers, are now available to caregivers via GetWellNetwork’s digital patient engagement solution, GetWell Inpatient. The videos provide simple, step-by-step instruction and tips for family caregivers on a range of topics, including wound care, mobility and medication management. The combination of the video library integration and a series of prompts designed to document designated caregiver information in the hospital record satisfies two provisions of the CARE Act.

“True cross-continuum care means patients have the right care and information throughout their entire health care journey,” said Karen Drenkard, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, GetWellNetwork chief clinical & nursing officer. “This content, created specifically for caregivers, carries forward our joint mission to promote meaningful change in how family caregivers are supported.”

CARE for Caregivers
To ensure caregivers have what they need when their loved one returns home—such as training to perform medical or nursing tasks—AARP introduced model legislation with the CARE Act. First passed in 2014, and currently signed into law in 40 states and territories, it institutes three basic changes in hospital admission and discharge practices:

1. RECOGNIZE: Identify family caregiver early in hospital stay

2. NOTIFY: Include family caregiver in planning and give notice in advance of hospital discharge

3. INSTRUCT: Provide simple instruction for post-acute care at home

Research shows that involving family caregivers in patient discharge planning reduces the number of errors and complications, lowers health care costs, raises patient satisfaction and improves outcomes. In fact, a 25 percent decrease in 90-day hospital readmission rates is directly attributable to involving caregivers as essential members of the care team.

Better, Together
Together, AARP and GetWellNetwork are making it easier for hospitals to comply with the CARE Act while also meeting family caregivers where they are with interactive tools and resources that support their own journey.

“Making these videos available in the hospital setting will help both family caregivers and hospitals,” said Susan Reinhard, RN, PhD, senior vice president and director, AARP Public Policy Institute. “Caregivers can learn what they need to do to care for their loved ones at home and hospitals can help avoid unnecessary readmissions.”

“Patient- and family-centered care is at the core of everything we do at GetWellNetwork. We aspire every day to give patients and families a voice in their care to ultimately improve outcomes across the continuum,” said Michael O’Neil, GetWellNetwork founder & CEO. “Teaming up with AARP to make informative videos more accessible to caregivers fits in naturally with our philosophy and mission to improve the way care is delivered for every patient, every family, every time.”