WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A congressionally mandated council that received input from Nourish for Caregivers delivered recommendations on how to better support family caregivers. The recommendations include a call for culturally-appropriate resources, financial and workplace security, and expanded home and community-based services, congregational care, among other actions.
The RAISE (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage) Family Caregiving Advisory Council —comprised of family caregivers, healthcare experts and others — developed the recommendations after a two-year, multifaceted effort with support and input from Nourish for Caregivers. The recommendations fall under five goals, which include:
- 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 support to better integrate family caregivers into healthcare processes and systems.
- Improving access to services and support 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.
According to AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 Report, about 53 million people provide a broad range of assistance to support the health, quality of life, and independence of someone close to them each year. An estimated one in six individuals are family caregivers today, and more than two-thirds of people will need assistance with tasks as they age.
Nourish for Caregivers was invited to provide input on this critical topic because of its unique and innovative programs which support caregivers in faith communities across the country. Nourish equips churches with a structured, faith-based curriculum to address the practical, emotional and spiritual needs of caregivers. The program works! In those faith communities where caregivers are supported through Nourish for Caregivers, 97% of participants report their stress level reduced, 93% of all participants find reconnection and support from others, and 97% say their faith and prayer life is improved.
"Family caregivers provide support to a host of individuals, from the ever-growing number of older adults to people with intellectual, mobility and developmental disabilities. Now more than ever, caregivers are needed, and the recommendations of the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council is a call-to-action with tangible ways to support them," said Kelly Johnson, Co-Founder, Nourish for Caregivers.
"Tens of millions of people living in the United States either care for or are cared for by a family member. These caregivers provide a tremendous amount of unpaid work that comes with personal sacrifice, physical and emotional impacts, as well as spiritual depletion. It's about time we give family caregivers the tools and resources so they can care for their loved ones with dignity and in a way that meets their unique needs," added Deb Kelsey-Davis, Co-Founder, Nourish for Caregivers.
The council's recommendations serve as the foundation of the forthcoming National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers. The strategy will drive increased recognition and support for family caregivers by proposing specific actions that can be taken at the federal and state levels, by local communities, philanthropic organizations and educational bodies, as well as healthcare and long-term services providers. The strategy will provide a roadmap for the nation to strengthen its support and recognition of the critical role family caregivers of all ages play in healthcare and long-term support systems.
The council was established as part of the RAISE Act (Recognizing, Assisting, Including, Supporting, and Engaging Family Caregivers), which passed Congress in 2018.
In addition to the participation and support of Nourish for Caregivers, The John A. Hartford Foundation and the National Academy for State Health Policy provided support for the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council with resources, technical assistance, and policy analysis.
About Nourish for Caregivers
Nourish for Caregivers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support and empower caregivers through the gift of faith. In a sea of materials and programs for caregivers, few focus on the whole person and most lack the key element of faith. Nourish for Caregivers is the first of its kind, providing an effective faith-centered program to minister to the practical, emotional and spiritual needs of caregivers. The Nourish for Caregivers program is found in over 80 faith communities across the U.S. and extending into Canada. Nourish also recently launched its healthcare model to address the crisis among health professionals and paraprofessionals and support their practical, emotional and spiritual needs. For more information, visit www.nourishforcaregivers.com.
About the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council
The Family Caregiving Advisory Council (the Council) was established by the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act and convened for the first time in August 2019. The Council includes representation by federal agencies and 15 voting members, including family caregivers; older adults who need long-term services and supports; individuals with disabilities; health care and social service providers; providers of long-term services and supports; employers; paraprofessional workers; state local officials; accreditation bodies; veterans; and as appropriate, other experts and advocacy organizations engaged in family caregiving. The Council is charged with providing recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on effective models of both family caregiving and support to family caregivers, as well as improving coordination across federal government programs. For more information, visit www.acl.gov/RAISE.
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