Better caregiver education means better patient care: how to successfully leverage the CARE Act

By |2018-03-07T15:31:53+00:00July 24th, 2017|

As value-based care initiatives slowly shift the focus of the business of healthcare from “transactions” to sustainable health processes, regulatory bodies have been issuing guidelines at a frenzied pace. Growing research on caregiver influence on patient compliance and legislation have physician and healthcare vendors looking for ways to reach these new stakeholders. To maximize the impact of care post-discharge, 30 states have elected to take part in the CARE Act (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable), which requires providers to 1) record the family caregiver’s name on the patient’s medical record, 2) inform the family caregiver when the patient is to be discharged, and 3) provide the family caregiver an education on the medical tasks to be performed on the patient at home.  

Approximately 93 million US adults provide over $522 billion worth of caregiving every day, which often involves complex tasks such as wound cleaning, administering medication, and operating feeding tubes, not to mention emotional support and care. They are key stakeholders in the new, value-based healthcare landscape, with real influence on population health (70% of family caregivers spend between 10 and 40 hours a week performing medical tasks), and require a set of tools and systems to support patient outcomes. This growing body of research and data is leading healthcare industry experts to look for tools that would allow for a more holistic approach to patient care, taking socio-economic backgrounds, community support systems, and caregiving options into account, alleviating the heavy burden and potentially dangerous knowledge gaps that many caregivers contend with.

In order to truly move the needle on patient outcomes and readmission rates, caregivers across the country need a comprehensive way to learn how to participate in the patient’s care at a time and in a setting that is accessible for both. Some of the most successful tactics for treating the “whole patient” involve trackable, digital caregiver education and remote monitoring. Some healthcare tech and patient education companies have started exploring caregiver support and education, with varying degrees of success. Experts suggest that trackable patient education videos offer a solution to the drastic disconnect between in and out-patient care, as they can be sent on an as-needed basis to both the patient and their caregiver, providing guidance and alleviating the knowledge gap often created by complex medical jargon.

Griffin Hospital, a 160-bed award-winning patient-centered acute care hospital serving the Lower Naugatuck Valley Region of Connecticut, was looking for a way to assist their patients in the ways outlined in the CARE Act, when it passed in their state, in 2015. They were looking for a tool to help their patients and caregivers deliver in three core areas:

  • Notification – The family caregiver is notified if their loved one is to be discharged home or transferred to another facility.
  • Instruction – Hospitals must offer family caregivers instruction on the medical tasks they will need to perform at home.
  • Identification – A patient has the opportunity to designate a family caregiver on the medical record when admitted to the hospital.

They found a vendor that met those needs and offered some additional support in providing caregivers the educational and infrastructural support they need with The Wellness Network and their EMR-integrated delivery technology, designed to help providers easily and effectively assign, deliver and track video patient education and instruction through the electronic medical record. Using this technology, Griffin hospital staff can now deliver meaningful education to improve health literacy for both patients and their caregivers, reduce the risk of readmissions, meet compliance measures, and improve patient satisfaction. For more information on The Wellness Network and their CARE act support tools, call 1-888-219-4678 or email Andrew now.

[1] Sterling, MaryAnne. “What Family Caregivers Need from Health IT and the Healthcare System to Be Effective Health Managers.” Connected Health Resources. HIMMS, 2014. Web.