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On April 20, 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed the Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable (CARE) Act into law. This new law allows patients who are currently in the hospital to name a “lay caregiver” who would provide in-home care to the patient upon release. Under this new law, hospitals are responsible for ensuring the designated caregiver is aware of discharge and any further instructions they may need to care for the patient at home. The law allows hospitals up to twelve months to implement this new discharge procedure.
Millions of U.S. adults act as caregivers to loved ones at home. Due to a lack of proper training and preparation, these caregivers are often overly burdened. As a result, hospitals were seeing a greater increase in re-admittance which costs them greatly under the Affordable Care Act. This law now requires hospitals to act proactively and properly train caregivers prior to the discharge of a patient.
As a result of this new legislation, you should consider pre-designating your lay caregiver in your Advanced Health Care Directive (also called a Health Care Power of Attorney or Living Will), a legal document indicating your wishes with regard to your health which is enacted if/when you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.
Thomas A. Capehart is an experienced estate planning attorney with specific knowledge in matters regarding Elder Law.