Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz that is designed to help reduce costly hospital re-admissions by having patients designate a caregiver for post hospital care was signed into law today by Gov. Christie.
The bill, A-2955, requires hospitals to provide patients and their legal guardians with an opportunity to designate a caregiver following the patient’s entry into the hospital and prior to discharge or transfer to the patient’s residence. A named caregiver is not obligated to perform any after-care assistance for the patient.“Nationwide, we spend $17 billion in Medicare funds annually on unnecessary hospital re-admissions. In New Jersey, we have a surging population of older adults and others who require long-term assistance and services,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “This measure will enhance patient care by enabling caregivers to provide better support to their loved ones at home and avoid costly hospital readmissions.”
According to the AARP:
• 69 percent of care recipients did not have a home visit by a health care professional after discharge from the hospital;
• 46 percent of family caregivers perform medical/nursing tasks for loved ones with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions; and
• Most family caregivers report that they receive little or no training to perform their tasks.
Under the bill, hospitals will be required to provide caregivers with instructions in all after-care assistance tasks as per the discharge plan, including a live or recorded demonstration of the tasks performed by an individual designated by the hospital and opportunity for the caregiver to ask questions about the tasks.