Texas caregivers gain rights

Texas lawmakers have finalized a measure that gives important new rights to millions of unpaid family caregivers. House Bill 2425 (companion to Senate Bill 1417) would help Texans when their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. The legislation goes next to the governor’s desk.

The measure would ensure hospital patients’ designated family caregivers are offered instruction in providing needed care at home.

It is vital because unpaid family caregivers often provide complex medical and nursing tasks for their loved ones, and sometimes without adequate explanation or training. It’s not uncommon for their tasks to include managing multiple medications, providing wound care, overseeing special diets, and operating high-tech medical equipment.

“This is great news for family caregivers across Texas,” said AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson. “Family caregivers are everyday heroes who are doing all they can to help their loved ones. I thank the sponsors of this bill and applaud the members and leadership of the House and Senate for this very significant action in support of caregivers in Texas.”

At least 35 states have put a version of the AARP CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable) Act on the books. In Texas, there are more than 3.4 million Texans who provide unpaid care to family and loved ones at any time. The value of this unpaid care in Texas alone is estimated at $35.5 billion a year.

More than 84 percent of Texas voters aged 50 and older strongly support the bill, according to a recent AARP survey.