NASHP Awarded New Grant on Family Caregiving from The John A Hartford Foundation

NASHP has been awarded a three-year grant from The John A. Hartford Foundation to develop a comprehensive resource and dissemination center on family caregiving. The grant will fund NASHP’s RAISE Act Family Caregiver Resource and Dissemination Center, a national focal point for resources, technical assistance, and policy analysis for states and the broader community of stakeholders interested in this important and timely issue. The initiative builds on the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act, which was passed by Congress last year and establishes an advisory council charged with crafting the country’s first national family caregiver strategy. Under the auspices of the Administration for Community Living, the council will provide a framework for how the federal government, states, and communities can better address the needs of family caregivers.

Family caregiving is a timely and critical issue for state policymakers: state Medicaid programs cover six of every ten of the country’s nursing home residents, and spend $58.5 billion per year on home and community based services (HCBS) for older adults and people with disabilities. As savings for U.S. families decline and long term care costs increase, state Medicaid programs will continue to serve as the de facto long term care safety net for older Americans, including middle class families who spend down assets.  Research shows that engaged family caregivers can reduce the need for home health services, delay the need for nursing home care, and lower an individual’s overall risk for nursing home placement. However, to be successful, caregivers – who may be juggling a range of work, financial, and other family responsibilities – require appropriate policy and programmatic support. The current issue of Health Affairs, which focuses exclusively on long term and end of life care, notes that more innovation is needed at the state and federal levels to truly support older adults and their caregivers: “Ultimately, the focus of serious illness care must be expanded from the patient to the family unit.”

NASHP is excited to work with state leaders, federal partners, and other stakeholder organizations in their efforts to address the needs of family caregivers, and looks forward to supporting and disseminating the important work that results from the RAISE Act Advisory Council.  Watch for more news of this innovative project in the coming weeks and months.