AARP is Making a Difference for Family Caregivers in Kansas

Posted on 09/17/20

AARP image May 2019

For the hundreds of thousands of caregivers across Kansas tirelessly caring for their parents, spouses, and other loved ones so they can live independently at home, help is here. AARP Kansas is proud to have fought for the passage of the Kansas Lay Caregiver Act which provides caregivers crucial support when their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. It requires hospitals to:

  • Ask patients if they wish to identify a caregiver, and then record that caregiver in the medical record

  • Inform caregivers when their loved one is set to be discharged from the hospital

  • Instruct caregivers on aftercare tasks they will need to perform at home, including wound care and medication management

(Watch this video to better understand how the Kansas Lay Caregivers Act works)

Caregiving can be a 24/7 job that is emotionally, physically and financially difficult. That’s why AARP works tirelessly to support Kansas’ 330,000 family caregivers, striving to make their big responsibilities a little bit easier. 

Together, Kansas caregivers provide 280 million hours of care each year – a contribution totaling about $3.7 billion in unpaid care. They carry out tasks like managing finances, providing transportation, helping with bathing and dressing, cooking meals and more. Some caregivers even take on complicated medical and nursing tasks like cleaning wounds, giving injections, and managing medications. Once done by doctors and nurses, these tasks are now being performed by caregivers at home, most with little to no training.

The Kansas Lay Caregiver Act helps make sure that caregivers have the information they need to safely care for their loved ones when they come home from the hospital and thus is expected to help improve the quality of care of Kansans. Caregivers are the first line of defense against older Kansans having to leave their homes for readmission to the hospital or another care setting and the Kansas Lay Caregiver Act is expected to save taxpayers money by lowering readmissions to hospital emergency rooms.

Nationally, almost half (46%) of family caregivers perform medical or nursing tasks for their loved ones with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions – and 78 percent of caregivers who provide these tasks manage medications, including administering intravenous fluids and injections.  Source: Home Alone: Family Caregivers Provide Complex Chronic Care (AARP Public Policy Institute, 2014) Find more Kansas caregiving resources, stories and tips from family caregivers here.

This story is provided by AARP Kansas. Visit the AARP Kansas page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.