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Care Act- Enabling Caregivers to Support Their Loved Ones

Late this past October the New York State legislature enacted the Care Act by adding new Article 29-CCCC to the Public Health Laws. The justification provided for enacting the law was the recognition that millions of New Yorkers provide care to adults with limitations in daily activities. Caregivers (family, friends and others) are asked to assist with basic activities of daily living as well as complex tasks on a daily basis such as administering multiple medications, providing wound care, and operating medical equipment. Despite their importance, many caregivers have been left out of discussions involving a patient’s care while in the hospital and, upon the patient’s discharge, receive little to no instruction on the tasks they are expected to perform.

The Care Act requires hospitals to:

  • allow a patient an opportunity to designate a caregiver in the patient’s medical record;
  • notify and offer to meet with the designated caregiver to discuss the patient’s plan of care prior to the patient’s discharge or transfer to another facility; and
  • offer to adequately train the designated caregiver in certain aftercare tasks upon a patient’s discharge to his or her current residence.

The law additionally mandates that no later than 24 hours prior to discharge the hospital shall consult with the designated caregiver regarding a discharge plan that shall include:

  • the name and contact information of the caregiver;
  • a description of all after-care tasks necessary to maintain the patient’s ability to reside at home, taking into account the capabilities and limitations of the caregiver; and
  • contact information for any health care, community resources, and long-term services and supports necessary to successfully carry out the patient’s discharge plan.
    The hospital issuing the discharge plan must offer caregivers with instruction in all tasks described in the discharge plan.

The instruction shall include:

  • a live demonstration of the tasks performed by a hospital employee authorized to perform the after-care task; and
  • an opportunity for the caregiver and patient to ask questions and receive answers about the after-care tasks.

Aaron E. Futterman, CPA, Esq. is a partner in the law firm of Futterman & Lanza, LLP with offices in Smithtown, NY and clients throughout Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Richmond, New York, Westchester and Rockland Counties. He concentrates his practice to Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Applications, Estate Planning, Probate, Estate Taxes, and Estate Administration.

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