Vol. 15, No. 7
December 30, 2015
Community-Based Independence for Seniors Act of 2015 (H.R. 4212)
  • This bill establishes a Community-Based Institutional Special Needs Plan demonstration program to target home and community-based care to eligible Medicare beneficiaries.
Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 83)
  • This bill provides appropriations for the federal government through the end of the fiscal year 2015, increasing funding for the Lifespan Respite Care Program (an additional $1 million for a total of $3.36 million), the National Family Caregiver Support Program (an increase of $5 million for a total of $150.6 million), and the Native Caregiver Support Program (an increase of $1.5 million for a total of $7.5 million).
  • See news from AARP and the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations for further information and commentary regarding this new Congressional agreement on government spending.
Coordinating Transportations Services for Transportation Disadvantaged Individuals Act of 2015 (H.R. 4082)
  • This bill coordinates transportation services for transportation-disadvantaged individuals, defined as individuals who require but have difficulty accessing public transportation due to disability, income level, age, or veteran status.
Disability Integration Act of 2015 (S. 2427)
  • This bill prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and supports.
Living Independently for Extended Time (LIFETIME) Act (S. 2338)
  • This bill establishes a grant program to provide incentives to states for the development of solutions to the increased need of individuals for long-term services and supports and to increase state support and systems in long-term care.
Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act (S. 2425)
  • This bill amends titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act to improve payments for complex rehabilitation technology and certain radiation therapy services, to ensure flexibility in applying the hardship exception for meaningful use for the 2015 Electronic Health Record (EHR) reporting period for 2017 payment adjustments.
RAISE Family Caregivers Act (S. 1719)
  • This bill provides for the establishment and maintenance of a National Family Caregiving Strategy.
Aging-DHS-DHFS-DON Assessment (H.B. 4351)
  • This bill amends the Illinois Act on the Aging, the Disabled Persons Rehabilitation Act, and the Illinois Public Aid Code to provide interim eligibility requirements for institutional, home, and community-based long term care services and a plan for transition to an updated needs assessment tool subject to federal approval of these services.
Home Health Care and Designated Caregiver Act (S.B. 352)
  • This bill allows for designation of a caregiver, prescription of the duties of a designated caregiver, enabling a hospital to assist in designating a caregiver, and prescription of the duties of state departments and agencies.
Amendment to the Schedules that Work Act (A. 8592)
  • This bill amends the labor law, in relation to the Schedules that Work Act, with new provisions for family leave on the basis of caregiving for elder family members with serious health conditions.
An Act to Amend the Elder Law in Relation to Office for the Aging (S. 5892)
  • This bill requires the director of the office for the aging to develop informational materials on aging agency programs and requires hospitals to provide such materials to patients upon their discharge from care.
Everyone Needs a Break Sometimes--Especially Family Caregivers
  • This AARP policy bulletin reviews new research on the growing need for caregiver supportive services, including respite care. A report by an expert panel calls for A Research Agenda for Respite Care, describing the need for more research on the role of respite in comprehensive caregiver supportive services and how to improve access to respite options in the community.
Outcomes of a Multimodal Cognitive and Physical Rehabilitation Program for Persons with Mild Dementia and their Caregivers: a Goal-Oriented Approach
  • This article published in Clinical Interventions in Aging describes the effects of cognitive and physical rehabilitation programs for persons with mild dementia and their caregivers. Experimental findings indicate that an approach combining physical exercise and cognitive rehabilitation improves goal attainment and reduces caregiver burden.
Putting People at the Heart of Health Care, Research from AGS Advances Definition of Person-Centered Care
  • An interprofessional panel of eldercare experts convened in collaboration with the University of Southern California (USC), with support from The SCAN Foundation, and released findings from a project to better define "person-centered care" and its key elements. This innovative approach to health care puts individual values and preferences at the heart of care decisions, measuring success by attention to people's health and life goals. Research findings, an expert panel statement, and a special commentary published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society add clarity to the characteristics of person-centered care, which has lacked a cohesive definition even as its prominence in research and health policy is growing.
The Family Caregiver Activation in Transitions (FCAT) Tool: A New Measure of Family Caregiver Self-Efficacy
  • New research proposes the use of a new Family Caregiver Activation in Transitions (FCAT) tool to guide family caregiver-health professional care teams in better understanding patient and family needs to effectively execute the care plan of patients during care transitions. Findings demonstrate that the FCAT tool has the potential to guide interventions intended to enhance family caregiver preparation and confidence, and thereby positively influence clinical practice during care transitions.
The Occurrence Of Positive Emotion In Hospice Family Caregiver And Nurse Communication
  • A recent study uses digitally recorded hospice nurse home visits to examine when and how family caregivers express positive attitudes and behaviors during hospice care, tracing connections between positive affect in caregivers and caregiver outcomes. The research revealed that positive emotion is an important measure of a caregiver's mental and physical health, and offers insight into caregivers' ability to cope with stress.
CARE Act Enables Family Caregivers at Hospital Level
  • This Home Care Health News story explains that if hospitals fail to provide direction and clear care instructions for family caregivers, patients may end up back in the hospital after being discharged to recover at home.
  • Although some existing initiatives relating to hospital and rehabilitation settings involve family caregivers, few federal bills that enable them have gained traction.
  • The Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, which is one of the most effective measures that has come from the local level, has been approved in 18 states and Puerto Rico.
  • By enabling caregivers before those they care for arrive home, the act could help reduce hospital readmissions and result in better patient outcomes.
Caregivers Sometimes Must Sacrifice Their Careers
  • This The New York Times article highlights the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which assists some working family caregivers, and its limitations (for example, FMLA covers about 60 percent of the working population [exempting employers that have less than 50 employees]).
Imagine a Medicare "Part Q" for Quality at the End of Life
  • This New York Times op-ed argues that America's fee-for-service medical system is a "notoriously bad fit for the frail elderly," so that, while Medicare pays well for fix-it treatments focused unrealistically on cure under end-of-life conditions, it underpays for care and desperately needed home support.
Specialty Drugs Can Prove Expensive Even with Medicare Coverage
  • This NPR profile describes how Medicare recipients who have arthritis, cancer, or other complex conditions may find that they--or their informal caregivers--have to pay thousands of dollars a year for their medications, even if their insurance plan covers most prescriptions. Especially for those individuals who take multiple expensive medications for chronic conditions, Medicare policy analysts recommend that recipients and their loved ones take time to shop around for a Medicare plan that covers the particular prescriptions they need to limit the out-of-pocket costs that can rapidly accumulate.
7 Tech Advances That Will Change Seniors' Lives
  • The following technological advances may assist older adults in the future, as discussed in this U.S. News & World Report Money story:
    1. Self-driving cars
    2. Edema socks
    3. SmartSox for people with diabetes
    4. Shoes that deter falls
    5. Shirts that administer CPR
    6. Nurse robots
    7. Smart homes with voice controls
Care Angel's Patent-Pending Artificial Intelligent Caregiver, ANGEL, Wins People's Choice Award
  • This press release from PR Newswire announces the winner of the 2015 Health Tech Conference's People's Choice Award: ANGEL, a virtual caregiving assistant that offers Care Calls--a voice-guided empathetic conversation with seniors--through artificial intelligence and voice recognition technologies. Characterized as "Siri for seniors," ANGEL also provides real-time reports on health information status to invited family members, thereby empowering caregivers rather than just providing passive monitoring for potential health risks such as falls or medication compliance.
Using Telehealth to Care for the Caregiver
  • This article from mHealth Intelligence profiles a new telehealth clinic project housed at USC, designed to help family caregivers deal with their own stress and health, as well as that of the loved ones for whom they provide care. The clinic uses videoconferencing technology to connect to homes or partner locations, providing critical access to mental health services such as counseling to over 200 low-income and underserved families.
Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Relief Grant Program
  • Hilarity for Charity and the Home Instead Senior Care network are collaborating to award home care grants to those providing care to their loved ones living with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.
  • The grants will be awarded across the United States and Canada, and are meant to contribute to the provision of exceptional home care to families affected by this disease, and to give these families support and rest.
i am a caregiver for my mother Family Caregiver Alliance's Social Media Campaign
  • FCA has launched a campaign to raise awareness across social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, about the 40 million U.S. family caregivers who provide approximately $470 billion of unpaid service annually.
  • FCA and caregivers across the country are posting photos--holding a sign that reads, "I am a Caregiver for my ________" and using the hashtag #IAmACaregiverForMy--to recognize the unpaid service family caregivers provide.
  • To join the campaign, visit this page, where you can download your "I am a Caregiver for my ________" sign.
  • View more photos on the FCA Blog here.
Put Your Family Caregiving on the Map (from the Atlas of Caregiving Pilot)
  • The Atlas of Caregiving Pilot offers information on how caregivers can create their own care map.
  • A care map is a helpful way to visually represent all the people and services involved in a family caregiving situation.
  • Once completed, the map will show all the individuals who are providing care and the relationships between them.
Resources for CBOs: The SCAN Foundation Linkage Lab Initiative
  • The SCAN Foundation, through its Linkage Lab Initiative, offers a suite of resources for CBOs seeking partnerships with the health care sector. Resources include the following:
    • Case studies from the first cohort of Linkage Lab grantees, which include information about their key objectives and strategies, successes, challenges, and lessons learned.
    • Free online learning modules for CBOs to build leadership and management capacity.
    • Perspectives from Dr. Bruce Chernof on the importance of forming effective health care/CBO partnerships.
The Community Research Center for Senior Health (CRC-SH) Releases a New Resource in the Arena of Evidence Based Programs (EBPs)
  • CRC-SH has developed a free web-based toolkit to guide CBOs through the selection, implementation, and evaluation of EBPs to better promote older adult health and well-being.
Note: All FCA/NCC Caregiving Policy Digest Research Registry listings are displayed in the manner they were received by FCA/NCC.
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