Booker, Pascrell talk with advocacy groups about bill that would provide training for in-home caregivers

Beth Fitzgerald//October 23, 2014

Booker, Pascrell talk with advocacy groups about bill that would provide training for in-home caregivers

Beth Fitzgerald//October 23, 2014

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Passaic) this week met with advocates for in-home caregivers to discuss their proposed law that would provide training for unpaid caregivers who care for family members at home.Booker and Pascrell led a roundtable discussion Wednesday at the Visiting Nurse Association of Englewood devoted to their proposed “In Home CARE (Caregiver Assessment, Resources & Education) Act,” which would provide training and resources for Americans who care for family members at home.

“Family caregivers allow people to stay at home connected to their communities and help improve the quality of life of the loved ones they care for,” Pascrell said. “In talking to family caregivers in New Jersey, they all say they need the same thing — more support. This legislation aims to give them just that.”

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“More than 65 million Americans are caregivers and upwards of half of them are performing complex medical procedures around the clock,” said Booker. “Caregiving is a trying experience for families and the In Home CARE Act was created to help informal, unpaid caregivers where they provide care, at home.”

The legislation would establish competitive grants to public and nonprofit organizations to develop and deliver family caregiver home visiting programs that would include training, education and other resources.

The roundtable was attended by family caregivers and representatives from the Home Care Association of New Jersey, Parkinson’s Action Network, National Parkinson Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association.

“The needs of my parents often come first, even before I start my day for work or for my family,” Karen Reiner of Englewood said. She said she cares for her aging parent, works full-time, and is a wife, mother and grandmother.

Charlene Narciso of Summit said she quit her job to care full time for her husband, who is living with Parkinson’s disease.

“There are so many gaps in meeting the needs of caregivers,” said Sherl Brand, a registered nurse and chief external affairs officer at VNA Health Group. “We have a role as health care providers, but we can also collaborate with you (legislators) and the caregivers around the table to address these gaps.”

The In Home CARE Act would enable health care providers to go into the home and assess the caregiver’s specific needs, challenges and abilities and to tailor training, follow-up visits and resources to the caregiver and care recipient.

“It is absolutely vital that we provide these selfless individuals with the support they need to effectively care for their loved ones while prioritizing their own health and wellbeing,” Booker said.

AARP, in a letter to Pascrell earlier this month, said the proposed In-Home CARE Act “takes an important step forward to assist family caregivers through the establishment of a home visiting grant program.”

AARP said: “Too often, family caregivers do not receive the training and support they need to effectively provide care. AARP applauds the In-Home CARE Act’s goal of improving the ability of family caregivers to care for their loved ones in their homes and communities. Grantees would be required to provide a home visit to assess the needs of the family caregiver and help provide or connect the caregiver with various supports, such as education and training, health care referrals, home modifications, transportation, respite care and legal assistance. By providing a family caregiver assessment and connecting them to resources, we can help people stay at home, delay or prevent institutionalization, and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations.”

Chrissy Buteas, chief executive of the Home Care Association of NJ, said: “As our aging population wants to remain in their homes around family and loved ones, home care agencies and family caregivers play a critical role in caring for the patient. The value of the collaborative relationship is critical to providing the best quality of care at home.”

Buteas added, “We appreciate Sen. Booker and Congressman Pascrell’s commitment to care for patients in their home and look forward to continuing to work with them on this important initiative.”

The Home Care Association of NJ represents the state’s home health agencies, hospices and health care service firms.


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