As Congress continues to debate the size and scope of a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that may include funding for the care economy, a congressional council last week released recommendations to support family caregivers.
The RAISE (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage) Family Caregiving Advisory Council, which comprises family caregivers and experts, engaged in a two-year effort to gather information from more than 1,600 family caregivers across the country. Recommendations fall under five goals:
- Increasing awareness of family caregivers to increase public understanding of the contributions caregivers make, including helping individuals self-identify as caregivers so that they can get the support they need.
- Engaging family caregivers as partners in healthcare and long-term services and supports to better integrate family caregivers into healthcare processes and systems.
- Improving access to services and supports for family caregivers including counseling, respite care, peer support, training on common in-home medical tasks, and practical assistance like transportation. Also included is a recommendation for strengthening the paid caregiver workforce.
- Supporting financial and workplace security for family caregivers to decrease the impact family caregiving can have on the financial well-being and professional lives of caregivers.
- Generating research, data and evidence-informed practices to help create policies and interventions that meaningfully help family caregivers.
“The RAISE recommendations represent the most comprehensive and meaningful ways to support family caregivers, who desperately need support,” said Rani Snyder, vice president of program at The John A. Hartford Foundation, which supported the council through resources, technical assistance and policy analysis.
After some senators balked at the size of the $3.5 trillion package, Congress plans to trim it. The bill is expected to include funding to advance care economy initiatives such as Better Care Better Jobs legislation, which would pump billions of dollars into Medicaid home- and community-based services. This move aims to help family caregivers.