A survey by the AARP and United Hospital Fund revealed that almost half of the work normally performed by nurses, including wound care, is done by family caregivers. The caregivers admitted that they were untrained and many learned how to perform the more complicated tasks on their own. Nearly 80 percent of elderly patients are getting their care at home, and not in a residential care facility. Family caregivers are the backbone of the support system for the elderly and people with disabilities, but often don’t know what they are doing and have no real training resources.
Susan Reinhard, Carol Levine, and Sarah Samis, the authors of the AARP/United Hospital Fund study, made a few recommendations on how to handle this situation. More than anything, these families need explicit hands-on formal training and practical support. Transitional care programs need to address these issues as well. These programs do a great job working with patients and family caregivers. But few of them provide real hands-on training. In addition, Medicaid and private long-term care insurance policies should include caregiver training as a benefit. If this training can keep people out of nursing homes, it can be a cost-saver in the long run.
For more information about wound care training and technology, visit woundrounds.com. To read the full article visit forbes.com.