When a family member is unable to care for themselves, proper training is essential for all parties involved.
A case in point was the crisis Patti LeFleur was unable to handle.
Patti LeFleur of Auburn, Washington had caregiving experience helping her mother for years but was unprepared for the medical crisis in April 2021. Patti’s mother fell and broke her hip.
Although Patti had spent years managing her 71-year-old mother’s insulin injections, bathing her, and helping her dress, this new crisis was overwhelming. KFF Health News ran an article describing Patti’s difficulties as a caregiver for her mother.
Seven years ago, Patti’s mother was diagnosed with early onset dementia. Now, after a hip replacement, she was told her mother would be unable to walk again.
The two women returned home from the hospital with her mother lying on a stretcher. The emergency drivers set up a bed in the living room wished them well and left.
That was the extent of help Patti received. She did not know how to turn her mother or manage her incontinence. An occupational therapist visited a few days later leaving Patti more confused.
Patti’s mother died in March of 2022.
How the Proposed Medicare Program Would Help
A caregiver offers support, transportation, help with meals and dressing, administers medication, bathing, and many daily activities the patient is unable to complete for themselves.
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare acknowledge that family members are essential as caregivers to patients, frail adults, and younger disabled individuals. The family also pays bills when needed out of pocket.
Help is On the Way
A timely article in Forbes explains the emotional and financial burden of caregivers. Medicare now has approval to subsidize these individuals under certain circumstances. When hospitals are understaffed, the caregivers fill in the gap.
The plan will pay doctors and medical staff to provide needed support to patients with certain conditions. For years under the fee for service, Medicare could only pay for services directly to the beneficiaries, but it could not help the family.
The Agency’s Commitment
- Medicare will pay providers, as well as therapists and nurses to train the patient’s family caregivers.
- Medicare will pay for a needs assessment for individuals who have certain conditions
- Medicare will develop a care model for individuals who have dementia, including their families.
The family caregiver updates will be decided by states, communities, tribes, and federal agencies that are charged with developing and adapting programs and policies that give support to family caregivers.
It is anticipated that payments for caregiver training and to the caregivers may begin next year.