The More You Know

The More You Know

Just as a doctor needs to be trained to treat patients, a family caregiver needs to be trained to effectively care for their loved one. Almost half of caregivers in the United States have had to complete medical tasks for the care recipient, including managing medications, preparing special meals, giving injections, and operating medical equipment.[1] However, only about 30% of family caregivers actually know of and use education and training programs to prepare for such tasks.[2] The other 60% are at risk of increased levels of anxiety and difficulty coping with the needs of both themselves and their loved one.[3]

To make these responsibilities a bit easier, lawmakers passed the CARE Act to ease the transition from hospital to home. This Act requires hospitals to provide education and instruction of the medical tasks that the caregiver will need to perform for their loved one.[4] Not only have lawmakers stepped up to the plate to aid caregivers; multiple organizations, including the Family Caregiver Alliance and the Alzheimer’s Association, have created programing to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for family caregivers to succeed in their new role.[5],[6]

Education and training for family caregivers is beneficial to all parties involved in the caregiving journey. Caregivers learn how to perform specialized tasks required when caring for some with multiple chronic conditions, or who recently experienced a change in their health (e.g., fractured a hip). Education and training increases caregiver confidences, reduces anxiety levels, and decreases the risk of injury or harm on the care recipient.[7] Lower risk of harm for recipients at home could even make the healthcare system a bit less busy.

Do you need family caregiver training? Visit the Family Caregiver Alliance at https://www.caregiver.org/special-topics/caregiver-education-and-training to find the right program for you.

[1] Fowler, Kimberley. “Instruction Required! Training Family Caregivers.” Senior Assisted Living Guides: Find Senior Care A Place for Mom. April 26, 2017. Accessed November 28, 2017. https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/04-28-17-training-family-caregivers/.

[2] Navaie, Maryam. “Accessibility of Caregiver Education and Support Programs: Reaching Hard-to-Reach Caregivers.” In Education and Support Programs for Caregivers: Research, Practice, Policy, 13-28. Springer, 2011.

[3] Ibid., pg. 13

[4] “New State Law to Help Family Caregivers.” AARP. Accessed November 28, 2017. https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/advocacy/caregiving-advocacy/info-2014/aarp-creates-model-state-bill.html.

[5] https://www.caregiver.org/resources-health-issue-or-condition

[6] https://www.aarp.org/ppi/initiatives/home-alone-alliance/

[7] “Why Training is Important.” Schmieding Home Caregiver Training. Accessed November 28, 2017. https://uamscaregiving.org/find-a-caregiver/why-training-is-important/.