|Home > Newsletters > Caregiving PolicyDigest > Volume XI, Number 3, February 11, 2011
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|A Newsletter of FCA's National Center on Caregiving|
February 11, 2011
Volume XI, Number 3
| IN THIS ISSUE|
State Legislation, Policy & Reports
Federal Legislation, Policy & Reports
- New York State May Amend Their Elder Law To Include Best Practices For Employed Caregivers More...
- New Jersey: Emergency Room Caregiver Program Profiled More...
- States Drowning In Deficits May Toss Over Medicaid As A Preserver More...
Research Reports & Journal Articles
- Funding To Improve Acute Hospital Care For Dementia Patients More...
- Canada Goes For Tax Incentives To Defray Costs of Care More...
- Counting The Family Home In Australia To Defray Health Care Costs More...
- Survey: The U.K. Hundreds Of Thousands Don't Receive Proper Care At Home More...
Conferences & Trainings
- Older Adults Needed In Clinical Studies To Provide More Accurate Aging Data More...
- Parkinson's: The Identification Of More Genetic Variants More...
Funding, Media & Miscellaneous
- International Conference On Caregiving, Disability, Aging And Technology More...
- Alzheimer's Report Shows Grim News For Boomers More...
- Walkers' Brains Improve More Than Non-Walkers In Study Of Brain Size More...
- ABC New Series Airs: Families On The Brink Focus On Elder Care More...
- Caregiving May Take A Village More...
- Direct Care Workers United For Change Launch Credential Program More...
- American Psychological Association Releases Family Caregivers' Online Tools More...
- Female Informal Family Caregivers Of Veterans With Traumatic Brain Injury. More...
1. New York State May Amend Their Elder Law To Include Best Practices For Employed Caregivers |
The Act (Bill SB 1897) would add a new section to the elder law to develop and update a guide for businesses on a yearly basis. The guide would contain current best practices for retaining employees who are also informal caregivers and provides information for supporting employees so they can achieve effectiveness in or out of the workplace. For more information, visit:
The New York State Assembly
2. New Jersey: Emergency Room Caregiver Program Profiled
The program provides respite care to caregivers in the hospital's Emergency Trauma Department (ETD) by staffing volunteers to serve many caregiving functions such as waiting with senior patients who are alone. "Take a Break" was created by Caryn Loffman who said it is well received by patients and their caregivers. "Take a Break" recognizes that care encompasses the entire family. Loffman manages all the volunteers entering the program, teaching them about the emergency department, including communication and listening skills, so volunteers can better care for patients. The program received the prestigious "Spirit of Planetree" Award for its role in expanding patient-centered care in emergency rooms. For more information, visit:North Jersey
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1. States Drowning In Deficits May Toss Over Medicaid As A Preserver |
Most states face protracted budget deficits and many are looking for a way to control costs through making changes to Medicaid. At the beginning of 2011, many states signed a letter sent to President Obama and other federal officials asking for permission to drop or reduce Medicaid coverage for Medicaid beneficiaries who were covered before the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Arizona faces a $1.2 billion budget deficit for the coming year. Jan Brewer (R) of Arizona is the first to request a waiver to drop 280,000 people eligible prior to the new law, a projected savings of $541.5 million for the state. If a waiver is granted, it would allow states to "break" the rules by removing a requirement that states maintain Medicaid eligibility for the same people who were enrolled in Medicaid prior to the new health care law being signed. According to the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, states face huge budget gaps of more than $140 billion heading into 2012 because of the loss in tax collection receipts at a time of recession. Medicaid, a joint state and federal health care program, is one of the largest expenses for a state, and expenses are nearly 14% higher now as compared to 2007. States are particularly vulnerable because increased federal aid under the American Recovery and Re-Investment Act is ending in June. Under current law, states outside of compliance could lose federal Medicaid reimbursements. For more information, visit:
Health and Human Services
1. Funding To Improve Acute Hospital Care For Dementia Patients |
Scotland will receive a funding boost of 300,000 GBP (approximately $483,339), to help fund improvement standards of acute hospital care for dementia patients. The Alzheimer's charity will use these funds to staff hospitals with specialist nurses. Alzheimer's Scotland had appealed to put a specialist nurse on every health board. Approximately 72,000 people in Scotland are estimated to have a diagnosis of dementia and that number is expected to double over the next 25 years. Public Health Minister Shona Robison said, "We've already seen the impact that dementia nurses make, working to support other staff on the quality of care and the safety of people with dementia in care homes, at home, or when they're in the hospital." Alzheimer's Scotland Chief Executive Henry Simmons described the government funding as "very positive and extremely welcome." He said, "We must build on this and ensure that people with dementia and their families receive consistent and high quality support from the point of diagnosis to the very difficult end of life stages of the illness." For more information, visit:
2. Canada Goes For Tax Incentives To Defray Costs Of Care
A proposal in Canada by the federal Labor Leader Michael Ignatieff would grant caregivers a new, six-month family care employment insurance benefit as well as a family care benefit of up to $1,350 a year, tax free -- changing from the present benefit of parental leave now available. After Ignatieff pitched his $1 billion-a-year family care plan, one attending caregiver at the roundtable discussions, Maritza Ferrada, confessed that she hoped her son would pass away before her. "It's a terrible thing to have to say. But I hope he dies before I do." Ferrada was speaking about her 26-year old disabled son. Ignatieff's plan could offset costs of home care-saying the $1 billion dollars is a "gesture" to support family caregivers. "Unsupported home care creates social poverty as well as financial poverty, something that saddens me the most," Ferrada said about present conditions. For more information, visit:
3. Counting The Family Home In Australia To Defray Health Care Costs
Australia recently released a draft report on overhauling its aged care system and one of the most controversial proposals would require a family home to count when calculating a person's ability to pay for care. The report was released in January and the Courier Mail recently analyzed some of those findings. In 40 years 3.6 million Australians will need elder care, up four times from the current year. Another proposal would require wealthy people to pay 25% of the cost of their care. Before a final report is submitted, the report details will undergo public hearings. The Commission's 42 recommendations provide for more streamlined support services choices, but the crucial question is how to fund it. For more information, visit:
4. Survey: The U.K. Hundreds Of Thousands Don't Receive Proper Care At Home
The Alzheimer's Society recently released results of a survey of dementia patients receiving care at home. The report: "Support. Stay. Save. Care and Support of People with Dementia in their Own Homes," found 50% of people with dementia who live at home are without care or support services, and this substandard care will force 50,000 people into residential care homes or hospitals sooner than necessary. Carers reported in the survey that people living in their own homes with dementia were not being cared for, left bedridden, wearing unchanged incontinence pads and malnourished. Carers also said they themselves were put at risk of depression and stress because they were being left untrained to struggle on their own. Care staff responded positively to receiving specialized training and education to better provide for those suffering from the disease. The Alzheimer's Society is calling on government commissions to think about improving long term care and invest in dementia, to keep people out of hospitals and care homes for as long as possible. Carer Delia Fox, who cared for her husband who had dementia until he died said, "Trying to get help with caring for Bill was an absolute nightmare." She had no choice but to be a 24-hour carer because she had been refused help trying to access the system. For more information, visit:
1. Older Adults Needed In Clinical Studies To Provide More Accurate Aging Data |
According to a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars at the University of Michigan, more than half of clinical trials exclude people based on their age or age-related conditions. The study, "Examining the Evidence: A Systematic Review of the Inclusion and Analysis of older Adults in Randomized Clinical Trials," is recently published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. "These findings are concerning because it means that doctors cannot be confident that clinical trial results apply to their older patients," said Donna Zulman, M.D., who is the study's lead author. As of 2009, Americans over age 65 represented 12.5% of the U.S. population and by 2030 that number is expected to double. This aging population represents 34% of expenditures in personal health care, with the majority spent on people with chronic diseases. Zulman points out that one in five trials exclude patients based on their age. Half of remaining trials excluded people based on criteria that impacts older adults, for example, frailty or impairment. Their study also discovered that trials infrequently assess how treatments affect function and quality of life outcomes, which are of greater importance to older adults. "These practices leave health care providers in the dark when determining which treatment will best serve the needs of their patients," says Zulman. She offers solutions such as eliminating upper age limits for study inclusion. "There is a critical need to ensure that research findings are relevant for our most complex and vulnerably older patients," said Zulman. For more information, visit:
2. Parkinson's: The Identification Of More Genetic Variants
Researchers rule out that Parkinson's disease is caused by environmental factors with new results of a meta-analysis of five genome-wide association studies. Through the analysis, researchers identified five new genetic variants that are believed to play a role in Parkinson's. Since 2007, researchers had identified six genetic variants that may affect a person's risk for developing Parkinson's, and this study raises that number to 11. The analysis found 20% of the people with the highest number of the 11 gene variants were 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson's as compared to the 20% of people with the least number of genetic risk factors. Researchers said these new results are a starting point for more research into how Parkinson's develops. Andrew Singleton of the National Institute on Aging at the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. said with a team of scientists they covered about 7.7 million genetic variants. Singleton stated that this study revises prior estimates that Parkinson's disease develops from environmental factors. For more information, visit:
U.S. News Health
1. International Conferences On Caregiving, Disability, Aging And Technology, Canada, June 5-8, 2011 |
The conference provides six important concurrent segments (Caregiving in the 21st Century; Growing Older with a Disability; Advances in Neurorehabilitation; 34th Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering; Best Practices in Universal Design) with additional highlights, such as an opening ceremony and a Festival dinner with special entertainment.
International Conferences On Caregiving
1. Alzheimer's Report Shows Grim News For Boomers |
According to a recent report, entitled "Generation Alzheimer's," 10 million baby boomers will develop the disease during their aging process, and 1 in 8 will die from it. The report predicts that the cost to the nation will be $20 trillion over the next 40 years, imposing a huge financial and emotional burden on American families. At the beginning of 2011, more than 10,000 baby boomers turned 65. Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association said, "Alzheimer's is a tragic epidemic that has no survivors. Not a single one." The effects of Alzheimer's disease are heartbreaking because it slowly strips away a person's autonomy and independence with an equally devastating experience for caregivers. Beth Kallmyer, Senior Director of Constituent Relations for the Alzheimer's Association said, "This long duration often places increasingly intensive care demands on the 11 million family members and friends who provide unpaid care, and it negatively affects their health, employment, income and financial security." Presently, every 70 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer's and that number will increase by 2050 to every 33 seconds - without government intervention. Robert Egge, Vice President of Public Policy for the Alzheimer's Association, said Alzheimer's has the "power to bring the country to its financial knees." For more information, visit:
2. Walkers' Brains Improve More Than Non-Walkers In Study Of Brain Size
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found walking can increase the size of the hippocampus area of the brain. The hippocampus retrieves past episodes in people's lives or helps them to remember items on a list. The authors assigned 120 healthy people--sedentary men and women in their mid-sixties, to one of two exercise groups. The two groups were given different levels of exercise; the sedentary group did a variety of less aerobic toning. The walkers were assigned to a more vigorous exercise routine. Among walkers, the hippocampus increased in volume by nearly two percent. In the other group, where participants performed less exercise, it had actually declined about 1.4 percent. Kirk Erickson, a psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh who worked with researchers from the University of Illinois on the study, said that, "a 2% increase is fairly significant." Dr. Erickson explained that in addition to cognitive improvement, there was also an improvement in spatial memory, which is important to negotiating everyday life, whether it is driving in traffic or remembering which aisle the milk is located on in a grocery store. As we age, physical exercise is one of the few ways to improve cognitive function, and Dr. Erickson continues, of the study, "This is the first to measure brain size." For more information, visit:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
New York Times
3. ABC New Series Airs: Families On The Brink Focus On Elder Care
ABC World News produced a television series focusing on the complex issues surrounding elder care. The panel discussions are available in print or video format, and address topics including elder drivers, medications and the stress of caregiving. Other topics discussed were Death and Illness: Having the Conversation, Nursing Homes and Other Options, and Elderly Driving: A Sign of Independence. To watch "Families on the Brink: What to do About Mom and Dad" on ABC World News, visit:
4. Caregiving May Take A Village
The "village" concept is a grassroots organization run by the aging for the aging creates community supports for seniors to remain living in their homes instead of moving to nursing facilities. Susan McWhinney-Morse at age 76 started a village in her community of Boston. Older adults in the community pay on a sliding scale what they can afford monthly to join. As a member, a senior is entitled to services or assistance, including grocery shopping, home maintenance, or an exercise class for maintaining health. The village concept has proven helpful for families who are caring for aging parents, their children, and holding down a career. Another option is to hire an in-home health care agency that sends a professional caregiver to the home for daily visits. The authors cite Sue and Skip Hollcroft, who struggled to balance the care of Sue's father with other family obligations. After her widowed father recently wrecked his car, the couple was forced to consider nursing homes, but her father refused to "live with old people." Their compromise was to hire an agency that provides her father with a caregiver who visits his home for four hours a day, five days a week, for slightly more than $20,000 a year. Seniors who do not have the level of income to pay for a private caregiver must rely on dwindling government services. Goyer notes that franchised organizations and local nonprofit agencies also provide personal care to aging adults living at home. "The services are based on a sliding scale, basically on what the person can afford. Some of these services will be covered by insurance. But that is why the volunteer services are more and more popular because these things really do add up." The average price of a nursing home is almost $80,000 a year and living in assisted living more than $37,000. Today, the village movement has spawned at least 48 other groups across the nation and more than 600 more are in development. For more information, visit:
5. Direct Care Workers United For Change Launch Credential Program
A new competency-based test for direct care workers was recently launched to improve the quality of long term care for the elderly and for those who depend on personal care assistance, to maintain their quality of life, dignity and independence. The credential for personal assistance workers offers to professionalize the industry by providing the following: 1) providing elders, people with disabilities and their families with a reliable way to assess the competency of those they hire; 2) giving agency employers a customer-centered assessment tool; 3) establishing a national standard for state policy makers; and 4) allowing workers in this field to demonstrate their professionalism and skill. For more information, visit:
Direct Care Alliance
6. American Psychological Association Releases Family Caregivers' Online Tools
The Family Caregivers' Briefcase, produced by the American Psychological Association, went online in January and offers 160 pages of information and resources for and about caregivers, to help psychologists and other health professionals working with family caregivers of aging parents, seriously ill children, and other family members. A product of the 2010 American Psychologist Association Presidential Initiative on Caregivers, the briefcase provides extensive information and resources on how caregiving affects us all, family caregiving, caregiving problems, reaching caregivers, the role of the psychologist, program development and advocacy, research, and education and teaching. For more information, visit:
American Psychological Association
1. Female Informal Family Caregivers Of Veterans With Traumatic Brain Injury|
Participants are needed for a research project examining stress and perceived health of female informal caregivers caring for a Veteran who has experienced a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury within the past six months to ten years. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and able to speak and understand English. Study involves completing a written questionnaire and collecting several saliva samples (to measure stress-related hormones) over a two-day period. Participants will be mailed all study materials to their homes and U.P.S. will pick up completed materials at their doorstep. Participants will be provided a $30 gift card. For more information, please contact Dr. Karen Saban, Health Research Scientist, at Edward Hines, Jr VA Hospital at 708/202-5264 or Karen.Saban@va.gov
|To find caregiver support services in your state, visit FCA's Family Care Navigator http://caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/fcn_content_node.jsp?nodeid=2083|
?2011 Family Caregiver Alliance. All rights reserved.
The National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance works to advance the development of high-quality and cost-effective policies and programs for caregivers in every state in the country. The National Center is a central source of information and technical assistance on family caregiving for policymakers, health and service providers, program developers, funders, media and families. For questions or further information about the National Center on Caregiving, contact Policy_Digest@caregiver.org or visit the Family Caregiver Alliance website at www.caregiver.org.
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