Q&A with Sarah Stewart
New ‘CARE’ Act empowers lay caregivers in assisting patients
Q: The CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable Act) was passed by the Oklahoma Legislature earlier this year and takes effect Nov. 1. What does it do?
A: The law allows a patient at a hospital, or similar facility, or the guardian of a patient to name a lay caregiver 18 or older to work with hospital personnel and provide aftercare for the patient after his/her release. The act shouldn’t interfere with the rights of those legally chosen to make health care decisions, such as a health care proxy in an advance directive or an attorney in fact in a durable power of attorney.
Q: What is aftercare?
A: Aftercare means any care after the patient’s discharge, related to the patient’s condition that caused hospitalization, and not requiring a licensed caregiver. For instance, picking up prescriptions would be a task a lay caregiver could do.
Q: Can a lay caregiver be paid by the government?
A: The act prohibits the use of state and federal funds to pay a lay caregiver for aftercare at the patient’s home.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER