Now more than ever, the United States needs to develop responsible social policy to address the needs of caregiving families who have unwittingly taken on the dual jobs of health care and social service provider.
During 2003, FCA’s National Center on Caregiving worked with a coalition of family caregiver advocates to develop a statement of principles on family caregiving to inform public policy. The principles apply to caregivers in all situations, although how they would be implemented would vary by setting.
Family caregiving concerns must be a central component of health care, long-term care and social service policymaking.
Family caregivers must be protected against the financial, physical and emotional consequences of caregiving that can put their own health and well-being in jeopardy.
Family caregivers must have access to affordable, readily available, high quality respite care as a key component of the supportive services network.
Family caregivers must be supported by family-friendly policies in the workplace in order to meet their caregiving responsibilities. Examples of family-friendly workplace policies include: flextime; work-at-home options; job-sharing; counseling; dependent care accounts; information and referral to community services; employer-paid services of a care manager and more.
Family caregivers must have appropriate, timely and ongoing education and training in order to successfully meet their caregiving responsibilities and to be advocates for their loved ones across care settings.
Family caregivers and their loved ones must have affordable, readily available, high quality, comprehensive services that are coordinated across all care settings.
Family caregivers and their loved ones must be assured of an affordable, well-qualified and sustainable health care workforce across all care settings.
Family caregivers must have access to regular comprehensive assessments of their caregiving situation to determine what assistance they may require.
These principles were developed in 2003 by a collaborative group of family caregiver advocates, including: Lynn Friss Feinberg, National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance; Jane Horvath, Health Policy Analyst; Gail Hunt and Les Plooster, National Alliance for Caregiving; Jill Kagan, National Respite Coalition; Carol Levine, Families and Healthcare Project, United Hospital Fund; Joanne Lynn, MD, Americans for Better Care of the Dying; Suzanne Mintz, National Family Caregivers Association; and Ann Wilkinson, Rand Corporation.
For the full text, see the FCA website. For more information, call Lynn Friss Feinberg at (415) 434-3388.
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