NAC APPLAUDS INTRODUCTION BUT URGES FOCUS ON IMPLEMENTATION
Washington, D.C. – Sept. 21, 2022 – The National Alliance for Caregiving – a coalition of 67 national organizations – applauds the release of the 2022 National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services but urges strong accountability and implementation efforts to turn the strategy into action.
The strategy details more than 350 federal actions and 150 measures that state and local governments, public health departments, philanthropies, and community-based, faith-based, and nonprofit organizations can take immediately to support the nation’s 53 million family caregivers, who make up 21% of the population.
“After spending many years advocating for a national strategy to support America’s growing community of family caregivers, NAC welcomes the release of this comprehensive framework,” said Jason Resendez, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving. “At the same time, we recognize that a strategy alone won’t improve the lives of family caregivers. We need a strong focus on marshaling the political will and resources needed to put the RAISE National Strategy into action.”
The release of this National Strategy comes at a significant time for family caregivers. According to research from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, there were 10 million more family caregivers in 2020 than there were in 2015, and the share of family caregivers who have difficulty coordinating care for their care partner increased from 19% in 2015 to 26% in 2020. More than one in five family caregivers say caregiving made their health worse. These issues are acutely impacting family caregivers of color, making family caregiving one of the most under-addressed drivers of inequity in the US.
The National Strategy includes potential government actions that address issues that family caregivers say are most important, including:
- Access to Respite Services: AmeriCorps Seniors will offer professional short-term care to help family caregivers take a break;
- Support with Day-to-Day and Complex Medical Tasks: Offices throughout the government will coordinate with states to grow and strengthen the direct care workforce to help more family caregivers with caregiving tasks;
- Inclusion of Caregivers in Care Teams: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will update rules to include family caregivers in the hospital discharge planning process, so transitions are smoother for all involved;
- Financial Education on Caregiving Costs: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will increase the availability and use of financial education tools on the costs of long-term care so caregivers can better prepare;
- Better Identification of Family Caregivers: Departments across the government will pilot identification of family caregivers in electronic health records and state information systems and conduct localized outreach to share information with family caregivers about the support available;
- Research on the Needs of Family Caregivers: Interdepartmental efforts across the federal government will research family caregiving to inform evidence-based policies, including by providing grants to colleges and universities with gerontology and family service programs so support options meet family caregivers’ needs.
NAC was integral to mobilizing the caregiving community in support of the RAISE (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage) Act, which established the council and process for developing the 2022 National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers. NAC also worked with The John A. Hartford Foundation and the National Academy for State Health Policy to ensure family caregivers were centered in the development of the recommendations and that the strategy reflected the lived experiences of this diverse community.
We encourage individuals and organizations to provide public comment on the National Strategy beginning on Oct. 1. The Strategy will be updated biennially, informed in part by public feedback, ensuring it continues to meet the needs of family caregivers and those they care for as they evolve.
About the National Alliance for Caregiving
Established in 1996, the National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on building health, wealth, and equity for family caregivers through research, innovation, and advocacy. We envision a society that values, supports, and empowers family caregivers to thrive at home, work, and life. Learn more at http://www.caregiving.org.