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Caregivers Manging Multiple Chronic Conditions; NCOA Can Help

Posted Dec 17 2012 9:00am
The AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) and the United Hospital Fund (UHF) recently released a new report that finds 46 percent of family caregivers perform medical and nursing tasks for care recipients with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions. The report, "Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care," explores the complexity of tasks that caregivers provide.

The PPI and UHF report is based on a national survey of 1,677 family caregivers who were asked about the medical and nursing tasks they perform. Of the 46 percent of family caregivers performing medical and nursing tasks, three out of four provided medication management – including administering IVs and injections – for a loved one. Further, more than a third of these caregivers providing medical and nursing tasks reported doing wound care. Other tasks included operating specialized medical equipment and monitors.

Interestingly on the same day I received this notice, the National Council on Aging sent information on how to obtain assistance in managing multiple chronic conditions.


Their Center for Healthy Aging will provide technical support to 22 states that have received more than $8.5 million to educate older adults on how to live better with chronic conditions. The new federal grants will help 87,000 seniors access evidence-based self-management programs to help them manage arthritis, diabetes, chronic pain, and more.
Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator of the Administration for Community Living Kathy Greenlee said, “We know these programs work. These funds help empower individuals so they can take better care of themselves, feel better, and perhaps avoid extra doctor visits and trips to the emergency room.”

These grants will help more people access tailored workshops to help them manage their conditions and help states embed the programs into their public health and wellness infrastructures.


Two-thirds of Medicare spending is for beneficiaries with five or more chronic conditions.

The new grants build on the Recovery Act’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program grants awarded in March 2010, which had an initial goal of reaching 50,000 older adults. As of August 28, 2012, 47 of those first-round states had reached 111,272 seniors.

The 22 states awarded the competitive cooperative agreements are: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The funding will support a variety of programs, all evidence-based and licensed from the Stanford University Patient Education Research Center. The Stanford programs emphasize the individual’s role in managing their health and improving their quality of life. The grants will also support evidence-based self-management programs for people with diabetes, arthritis, HIV/AIDS, and chronic pain, including internet-based courses and programs specifically developed for Spanish-speaking adults with chronic conditions.

To learn more about the Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, go to http://patienteducation.stanford.edu/programs/ .
To find workshops, visit the NCOA Center for Healthy Aging at http://www.ncoa.org/improve-health/center-for-healthy-aging/chronic-disease-1.html .

As the holidays approach, many new caregivers will be born as typically visits home to mom and dad are when you start to notice that living conditions and health conditions might have changed, particularly if you only visit occasionally. Take a breath. And know that there are support mechanisms out there for you. 

Check out this article I wrote for about.com on family visits.

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