Caregivers frequently cite challenges in managing their loved ones’ healthcare – including the coordination of in-home nursing and other in-home help, managing prescription medications, coordinating appointments and transportation for doctor visits, and finding information about the specific illness that loved ones are being affected by and its implications for caregiving responsibilities.
The Caregiver Friendly Communities Assessment scores this domain in two ways:
Expand the categories below to find the scoring factors and recommended practices for each. You can also download a pdf of the Best Practices Document to save and share.
The point in time when a patient leaves the hospital after treatment is an especially crucial moment of contact between healthcare providers and the patient’s caregiver. The information and support provided to a caregiver during this time can directly impact patient readmission rates and ability of a caregiver to successfully manage care at home. In a national review of 62 peer-reviewed journal articles on caregiving, caregiver concerns were largely found to be unmet with specific deficits in the areas of: 1) caregivers not receiving complete explanations of symptoms and alternative treatments for patients; 2) lack of basic disease information; and 3) lack of information about how to prepare for the patient coming home (Washington, 2011).
As of August, 2016, Michigan law requires hospitals to enact patient discharge procedures that include designating a caregiver, communicating and consulting with a caregiver about the patient’s discharge, and issuing linguistically and culturally understandable information in the discharge plan. Hospitals are expected to comply and document their related policies and procedures. https://www.dykema.com/resources-alerts-new-michigan-law-strives-to-make-hospital-discharges-easier-for-patients_04-19-2016.html
Several researchers have investigated various aspects of the hospital discharge process with the following findings on best ways to support caregivers at patient discharge:
It’s critically important for caregivers to not only be involved in the discharge planning of the care recipient, but also be provided with information about how to take care of the patient once home, information about the condition, and an opportunity to assess caregiver needs for optimum support.
Check to see if procedures include:
After the patient leaves the hospital and begins care by a caregiver – that moment is often the second most crucial time for support. In a study of 246 caregivers 89% indicated that resource referrals were the most common need (Black, 2013). Several other research studies point to the types of services that benefit caregivers in their role:
Post-Discharge Care Support is assessed by the level of care transition support offered to caregivers in your region.
Recommended Practice: review the care transitions services available in your region for deficits. If none exist, work with community partners to set up care transition programs. Also, advocate for Michigan Medicare and Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) or State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) volunteers to assist caregivers with securing health benefits, making claims, and filing complaints if none currently exist in your region.
Caregiving in rural regions is particularly difficult with additional challenges due to the higher population of care-recipients and reduced population of those of caregiver ages, combined with greater geographic distance to services, reduced prevalence of respite and other caregiver support services. Churches and connection to faith-based organizations have been found to help bridge the gap in some areas (Monahan, 2013)
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