The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a report called Families Caring for an Aging America. Their press release on the report states, in part:
The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report found that by 2030, 72.8 million U.S. residents – more than 1 in 5 – will be 65 or older. According to the National Survey of Caregivers, in 2011, 17.7 million people – or approximately 7.7 percent of the total U.S. population aged 20 and older – were caregivers of an older adult because of health problems or functional impairments. This estimate does not include caregivers of nursing home residents. Furthermore, for most family caregivers, caregiving is not a short-term obligation. The median number of years of family care for older adults with high needs is five years. The proportion of older adults who are most likely to need intensive support from family caregivers – those in their 80s and beyond – is projected to climb from 27 percent in 2012 to 37 percent in 2050. Little action has been taken to prepare the health care and social service systems for this demographic shift, the committee said.
In today’s world, family caregivers should not be expected to provide an array of complex care and support on their own, the committee said, and the emphasis on person-centered care needs to evolve into a focus on both person- and family-centered care. The report recommends that the next presidential administration take immediate steps to address the health, economic, and social issues facing family caregivers of older Americans. The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with other federal agencies, and private-sector organizations should develop and execute a National Family Caregiver Strategy that recognizes the essential role of family caregivers to the well-being of older adults.
You can download the report brief by clicking the link. Following are the report’s complete recommendations:
Recommendation 1 The committee calls upon the Administration that takes office in January 2017 to take steps to address the health, economic, and social issues facing family caregivers of older Americans. Specifically, the committee recommends that: The Secretary of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the Secretaries of Labor and Veterans Affairs, other federal agencies, and private-sector organizations with expertise in family caregiving, develop and execute a National Family Caregiver Strategy that, administratively or through new federal legislation, explicitly and systematically addresses and supports the essential role of family caregivers to older adults. This strategy should include specific measures to adapt the nation’s health care and long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems and workplaces to effectively and respectfully engage family caregivers and to support their health, values, and social and economic well-being, and to address the needs of our increasingly culturally and ethnically diverse caregiver population.
Recommendation 1-a Develop, test, and implement effective mechanisms within Medicare, Medicaid, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that family caregivers are routinely identifi ed and that their needs are assessed and supported in the delivery of health care and long-term services and supports.
Recommendation 1-b Direct the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to develop, test, and implement provider payment reforms that motivate providers to engage family caregivers in delivery processes, across all modes of payment and models of care.
Recommendation 1-c Strengthen the training and capacity of health care and social service providers to recognize and to engage family caregivers and to provide them evidence-based supports and referrals to services in the community.
Recommendation 1-d Increase funding for programs that provide explicit supportive services for family caregivers such as the National Family Caregiver Support Program and other relevant HHS programs to facilitate the development, dissemination, and implementation of evidenced-based caregiver intervention programs.
Recommendation 1-e Explore, evaluate, and, as warranted, adopt federal policies that provide economic support for working caregivers.
Recommendation 1-f Expand the data collection infrastructures within the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Veterans Affairs to facilitate monitoring, tracking, and reporting on the experience of family caregivers.
Recommendation 1-g Launch a multi-agency research program suffi ciently robust to evaluate caregiver interventions in real world health care and community settings, across diverse conditions and populations, and with respect to a broad array of outcomes.
Recommendation 2 State governments that have yet to address the health, economic, and social challenges of caregiving for older adults should learn from the experience of states with caregiver supports, and implement similar programs.
Recommendation 3 The Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Veterans Affairs should work with leaders in health care and long-term services and supports delivery, technology, and philanthropy to establish a public-private, multi-stakeholder innovation fund for research and innovation to accelerate the pace of change in addressing the needs of caregiving families.
Recommendation 4 In all the above actions, explicitly and consistently address families’ diversity in assessing caregiver needs and in developing, testing, and implementing caregiver supports.