SALT LAKE CITY – A report out today measures the huge economic contribution made by hundreds of thousands of people in Utah who act as caregivers for a family member, partner or friend.
<a href=”http://www.aarp.org/” target=”parent”>AARP’s “Valuing the Invaluable” report</a> shows that in a recent year 336,000 unpaid caregivers in the state provided care valued at more than $4 billion. Susan Reinhard, senior vice president with AARP, says on the national level, the numbers are huge.
“That about 40 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimate of 37 billion hours of care together,” says Reinhard. “That estimated value, of all of that work combined, is $470 billion.”
Reinhard points out that the economic impact made by unpaid caregivers was more than all Medicaid spending in a recent year. The report also found that one in four working Americans over age 25 say they are currently providing unpaid care to a relative or friend, most commonly for a parent or parent-in-law.
Elaine Ryan, vice president, State Advocacy and Strategy Integration in AARP’s Government Affairs group, says the organization is having success in several states getting passage of the “CARE Act,” which is the Caregiver, Advise, Record, Enable Act.
“Families are often left without any knowledge, but all the responsibility of providing care for their loved ones after discharge from a hospital,” she says.
AARP Utah is participating in efforts to have the CARE Act become law in the state. It would require hospitals to enter a family caregiver’s name in the medical record at the time a patient is admitted and notify the caregiver when the patient is due to be released.
Also, it would ensure that the caregiver is instructed in any follow-up care needed at home, such as dressing wounds or managing prescriptions.