Life Matters Media
Quality of life at the end of life

Trump Signs RAISE Act, Raising Attention Given to Family Caregivers

BY DANIEL GAITAN | daniel@lifemattersmedia.org

During one of the most polarizing moments in the nation’s history, a bipartisan bill to provide family caregivers with much needed support was signed into law by President Donald Trump.

The Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and make strategies for recognizing and supporting family caregivers publicly available.

The bill also establishes an advisory council of experts from private and public sectors to advise HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

The legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and in the U.S. House by Reps. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., and Kathy Castor, D-Fla.

“Every day, family caregivers do right by their loved ones, and I am proud to say we are doing right by them with the RAISE Family Caregivers Act being signed into law to formally recognize and support family caregivers across this country,” Baldwin said in a statement.

Baldwin said she was inspired to back such legislation because she was raised by her maternal grandparents and later served as her grandmother’s primary caregiver.

“I know the challenges that family caregivers face,” Baldwin added.

In a statement, Collins said that family caregivers across the nation “will now receive the much-needed recognition” they deserve.

AARP praised the bill’s passage, partly because some 40 million Americans are struggling to care for aged and ill loved ones.

“Family caregivers are the backbone of our care system in America. We need to make it easier for them to coordinate care for their loved ones, get information and resources, and take a break so they can rest and recharge,” said AARP Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond in a statement.

RAISE does not authorize additional funding for the Department of Health & Human Services, but it does require the development of a strategy within five-years.

Among the topics to be addressed:

● Promoting greater adoption of person and family-centered care in all health and long-term services and support settings

● Assessment and service planning — including care transitions and coordination — involving family caregivers and care recipients

● Information and education on hospice care, palliative medicine and advance health care planning

● Respite options

● Financial security and workplace issues

Nationally, 45 million people provide care for the elderly, disabled and sick, according to a recent survey from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. Many are overworked, unpaid and in poor health.

More than one-third of family caregivers have a full-time job, while 25 percent work part-time. Caregivers who work do so for about 35 hours per week on average.

The longer a caregiver has been providing care, the more likely she or he is to report fair or poor health.

– Image courtesy Pixabay