Hospitals and rehabs discharge seniors to family but are required to ensure the discharge is safe. AARP said in 2013 that 40 million family caregivers provided 37 billion hours of care worth an estimated $470 billion. The American healthcare system relies on 80% of care being provided by family caregivers. In addition to the loss of income often associated with taking time off from work to provide the care, a 2016 study found caregivers spent $6954 out of their own pockets during the caregiving episode. Dementia patient caregiving is not temporary.
The assumption in all this is that the caregiver is available, willing, competent, and adequately trained for the role. Each patient being discharged has different needs, capabilities and strengths. Each caregiver has strengths and weaknesses as well, plus the duration, scope and intensity of the needed caregiving varies by individual situation. Often the need to make decisions and the emotional and technical challenges become stressful. Yes, very few healthcare facilities use a caregiver-assessment process for discharge.
Caregiver burden is defined as a negative reaction to the impact of providing care. If they do not have the knowledge and skills, they can inadvertently harm their loved one. Medication errors, family conflicts, and a risk of elder abuse from the stress are just some of the possible results. The negative effect on the caregiver from neglecting their own health to risking injury and lack of sleep should be considered. Navigating the complicated healthcare system for another and monitoring side effects are part of the caregiver expectation.
In addition to personal care such as assisting for toileting, showering, and transferring in and out of beds and chairs, the financial decisions and instrumental activities of daily living are often overwhelming, especially if it is a spouse of an elderly person who may have health issues of their own. CarePatrol addresses all these situations with a proprietary discharge system that considers the needs of the patient and the needs of the caregiver (or if there is no caregiver). Even with increasing chronic needs for dementia patients, our plan works.
A competent caregiver can provide 24/7 appropriate care to specific patient needs for the duration of time he or she will need it. A competent caregiver is someone who recognizes when they need help, how much help they need, and is willing to make the financial sacrifice to accomplish the goal. Hospitals and rehabs should recognize the holistic needs, not just the medical needs, and discharge safely. This may include finding the assisted living, memory care, in-home care or independent living communities needed. That is the mission at CarePatrol.