STATE LEGISLATION & POLICY
1. California proposes rolling back proposed IHSS cuts
Proposed cuts to California's In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) have been reversed. The IHSS program uses state, county and federal money to pay home-care workers, including family members, to provide care for low-income Californians who would otherwise need to live in nursing homes. Federal funds, however, cannot be used to pay certain family members, such as spouses and parents. Backing off plans to eliminate the program, California's governor indicated that he will seek a federal waiver to allow federal dollars to be used. Cuts may be revisited if the waiver cannot be obtained. Details:
2. Connecticut offers funds for programs targeting family caregivers
The Connecticut Department of Social Services is accepting applications from agencies and organizations to develop and implement an innovative and replicable plan to address the needs of and provide services to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their family caregivers. The proposed plan may be statewide or focus on one particular geographic area of the state but must be replicable statewide. The plan must offer an approach or service that is not already widely practiced in the state and does not replicate existing programs currently available. Applications must be received by May 17, 2004. More info:
3. Florida proposes to increase funds for nursing home diversion
An April 19, 2004 article in the St. Petersburg Times reports that Florida may increase funds for a program aimed at keeping older people out of institutions. According to the article "the state pays private companies - some of them HMOs - a monthly fee to care for people who otherwise might land in nursing homes. The company decides what services it will offer, from simple help with medication, to adult day care, to permanent assisted living homes. Last year, Florida doubled its spending on the nursing diversion program. This year's House appropriations bill expands it another 50 percent while giving little or no new money to traditional in-home programs, like Community Care for the Elderly. If the Senate agrees, the diversion project will outstrip all fee-for-service programs designed to keep frail, elderly Floridians out of nursing homes." Read:
4. Hawaii updates status of state caregiver legislation
Hawaii's Executive Office on Aging has updated the status of caregiver-related legislation in the state. Included in the report is the recent adoption of HCR 154, a bill which would provide data on Hawaii's family caregivers and the older adults to whom they provide assistance. This data would include the demographics, needs, and financial costs of Hawaii's family caregivers. More info:
FEDERAL LEGISLATION & POLICY
5. New funds and initiatives from AoA
The U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) has several items of interest. A March 12, 2004 federal register announcement indicates that AoA and the Food and Drug Administration have issued a Memorandum of Understanding detailing efforts to teach Hispanic seniors and their caregivers about drug safety. The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded funds totaling nearly $9 million to support state efforts to develop Aging and Disability Resource Centers. The centers are a one-stop shop to help consumers learn about and access long-term supports ranging from in-home services to nursing facility care. Finally, an April 20, 2004 Federal Register item announces the availability of funds under the Alzheimer's Disease Demonstration Grants to States. The deadline for applications is June 1, 2004. More info:
6. CBO report on long-term care financing
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released "Financing Long-Term Care for the Elderly" which analyzes current and possible financing for long-term care. The report identifies some of the variables affecting long-term care funding now and in the future, including the availability of informal caregivers and their role in supporting and sustaining older people in their homes and communities. Also included are policy alternatives that address the mixture of private and public sources funding long-term care services. Download:
7. HHS posts new reports on caregiving, long-term care
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Disability, Aging, and Long-Term Care Policy has made available a variety of reports addressing caregiving and long-term care. Reports include: "Compendium of Intervention and Descriptive Studies Designed to Promote the Health of Caregivers for Older Adults"; "Ensuring the Health and Wellness of Our Nation's Family Caregivers"; and "Overview of Programs and Initiatives Sponsored by DHHS to Promote Health Aging: A Background Paper for the Blueprint on Aging for the 21st Century Technical Advisory Group Meeting." Access:
RESEARCH & REPORTS
8. Research on telephone-based support for caregivers
Stanford researchers, hoping to find effective new ways to aid caregivers and keep older people out of institutions, have announced their intention to examine whether telephone-based counseling on exercise, nutrition and stress relief can help caregivers maintain their own health and prolong their ability to provide care. Researchers indicate that the decline in the caregiver's health is the primary reason for eventually placing the patient in a nursing home. Details:
9. "A Tale of Two Older Americas"
The Center for Home Care and Policy Research, a program of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, has made available "A Tale of Two Older Americas: Community Opportunities and Initiatives." The report, part of the AdvantAge Initiative, assists communities in collecting and using consumer-derived information to design plans for improving their elder-friendliness. According to the report, an elder-friendly community is one that 1) addresses older people's needs, 2) promotes social and civic engagement, 3) optimizes physical and mental health and well-being, and 4) maximizes independence for the frail and disabled. The report includes a focus on the role of family and informal caregivers in maintaining the independence of older persons and adults with physical disabilities. Read:
10. Family involvement in care intervention
"Outcomes of family involvement in care intervention for caregivers of individuals with dementia" is included in the March/April 2004 edition of the Journal of Nursing Research. According to the authors, "the study tested the effects of the Family Involvement in Care partnership intervention on family members' perceptions of their caregiving role, relationships with staff, and satisfaction with the care of relatives with dementia residing in special care units as well as the effects on staff attitudes toward families and staff satisfaction with a caregiving role." Abstract:
11. "Dementia, prognosis, and the needs of patients and caregivers"
The April 6, 2004 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine includes ""Dementia, prognosis, and the needs of patients and caregivers." The goal of the study was to "investigate the course of Alzheimer disease after initial diagnosis and examine associations hypothesized to correlate with survival among community-dwelling patients with Alzheimer disease." Abstract:
12. End-of-life experiences for patients and their family caregivers
"Out-of-Hospital Death: Advance Care Planning, Decedent Symptoms, and Caregiver Burden" is included in the April 2004 edition of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. The authors conclude that "despite high rates of advance directives and hospice enrollment, perceived symptom distress was high for a subset of decedents, and caregiver strain was common. As location of death increasingly shifts nationwide from hospital to community, unmet decedent and family needs require new clinical skills and healthcare policies." Abstract:
13. Alzheimer's disease and caregiver depression
The March 2004 edition of the Journal of Psychology and Aging includes "Do behavioral disturbances in persons with Alzheimer's disease predict caregiver depression over time?" The authors find that "total behavioral disturbances were associated with higher levels of caregiver depressive symptoms: this effect was primarily attributable to aggressive behaviors." Abstract:
CONFERENCES & TRAININGS
14. Fourth Annual Carework conference in August
The Carework Network will hold their next conference on August 13th, 2004 in San Francisco. The conference meets before the American Sociological Association's Annual Meeting for a day of speakers, small sessions and networking. This year's theme is Bridging Carework Research, Advocacy, and Policy and was designed to link into ASA's theme of "Public Sociologies." The conference will include a plenary panel devoted to California's new paid family leave law. Conference details:
15. ASA Summer Series on Aging
The American Society on Aging (ASA) has announced their annual Summer Series on Aging. The West Coast series will be held in San Francisco June 7 - 10, 2004. The East Coast series will be held in Philadelphia July 12 - 15, 2004. The regional training events are designed for professionals in many different sectors who work with older adults and their caregivers. More information:
FUNDING, MEDIA & MISCELLANEOUS
16. RWJF funding available for local initiatives
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has announced the availability of funds through its Local Initiative Funding Partners program. RWJF provides up to $500,000 in matching funds to support innovative community-based projects to improve health or health care for vulnerable populations. Current grantees include a New York program to provide in-home services to seniors at risk of nursing home placement. Applications are due by July 14, 2004. Information:
17. N.Y. Newsday article on assisted living decision making
"How to make decisions about assisted living" appears in the April 19, 2004 edition of New York Newsday. The article covers a wide range of issues that many families face when considering assisted living options, and points out that since many families are making decisions during a time of crisis, major questions may go unasked. Read:
18. UCSF launches Center for Personal Assistance Services
UCSF has established the Center for Personal Assistance Services. Its mission is to provide research, training, dissemination and technical assistance on issues of personal assistance services (PAS) in the United States, including: the relationship between formal and informal PAS and caregiving support, and the role of assistive technology in complementing PAS; policies and programs, barriers and new models for PAS in the home and community; PAS workforce development, recruitment, retention, and benefits; and workplace models of formal and informal PAS. More info:
19. Family caregiver guide available in Spanish
The National Alliance for Caregiving and the United Hospital Fund have made available a Spanish-language version of "A Family Caregiver's Guide to Hospital Discharge Planning." Access:
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