New Report on Family Caregivers and Managed LTSS
To kick off National Family Caregivers Month, the AARP Public Policy Institute has issued the first major research report on family caregivers' needs within the emerging field of managed long-term services and supports (LTSS). The study concludes that managed LTSS contracts have the potential of leading the way in standardizing a person- and family-centered approach to care. The report offers practical tools and guidance for care coordinators who work for health plans; policy recommendations; and model managed care contract language to benefit members with self-care needs and their family caregivers. It also identifies four promising program examples and free tools from these programs that can be downloaded. The report's recommendations are notable for their focus on the role of the family in providing care and the needs of family caregivers, and could be a tool in advocating for family-centered care policies, particularly in managed LTSS. Recommendations:
- Managed LTSS programs should offer appropriate services that address the needs of family caregivers, including family caregiver assessments of their own needs; supportive services such as training, support groups, family meetings, counseling, and respite care that are identified in the assessment; home modifications and assistive technologies; and other supportive services and transportation.
- Health plans should recognize and involve family caregivers, especially when the care plan depends on them. Family caregivers should be part of the care planning process upon consent of the member and agreement from the family caregiver. Care coordinators and family caregivers should have each other's contact information.
- Family caregivers' feedback and involvement can help ensure better quality of care. Family caregivers should be included in health plan evaluations and advisory councils, especially when the members depend on their care.