President Joe Biden’s latest executive order promises much-needed relief and support for long-term care workers and family caregivers. It includes more than 50 provisions that will ultimately impact caregiver salaries, benefits, and peace of mind in knowing they have the support required to care for their loved ones, seniors, and those with disabilities with dignity and respect.
Some key provisions of the order include the following:
- Providing more support for family caregivers and long-term care workers during the hospital discharge planning in line with the CMS Condition of Participation discharge planning requirements. This includes promoting community-based organizations and resources from the Administration for Community Living and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
- Improving access to information, such as care plans, allows better communication between caregivers, physicians, and nurses.
- Expanding access to respite care by investing in more research on dementia care, such as directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to test a new dementia care model that includes respite care for family caregivers of people with dementia. Respite care is usually provided by agency staff as a form of short-term care to give family caregivers temporary relief to rest and recharge.
- Better guidance and transparency on Medicaid funding, ensuring enough caregivers are available to aid Medicaid enrollees, such as seniors and people with disabilities.
- Expanding access to mental health services for caregivers by improving access to the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers and providing more mental health support for the program’s enrolled caregivers.
- Improving access to home-based care for veterans who need support with activities of daily living, including the introduction of 75 new interdisciplinary teams to the current home-based primary care program and creating provisions to serve an additional 5,600 veterans in their homes.
The order is expected to relieve approximately 50 million Americans, including 30 million family caregivers. It is also estimated to save the federal government billions of dollars in health care costs while serving as a significant step forward for the Biden administration in improving support for family caregivers and long-term care workers.
While the order is a welcome development and a step in the right direction, additional funding will be needed to ensure family and long-term caregivers have continued support to provide quality care to their loved ones, seniors, and people with disabilities. However, some administration officials are skeptical because any additional funding for long-term care will face steep opposition from Republicans and a divided Congress, causing unease for the upcoming political battles for the Biden Administration.