Providing live-in care for a friend or loved one can be rewarding, but complex and difficult challenges sometimes come with the territory.
In those instances, caregiver training can make all the difference for maintaining health and well-being at home.
Monthly training is one of the many ways that Adult Family Care (AFC) supports family caregivers. As a MassHealth-funded program dedicated to helping people provide the best possible care at home, our nurses and social workers see the benefits of training firsthand.
This trend was quantified in a recent University of California study, which followed the progress of 6,000 in-home caregivers who were trained in CPR, first aid, and other health related topics. The study, which was recently publicized in a Kaiser Health News article, found that the rate of repeated emergency room visits declined by an average of 41 percent within two years of the training.
Those figures are not surprising. We know that people come to be caregivers from all walks of life and, as with most other pursuits, training offers a better chance of success.
At AFC our curriculum is a mixture of MassHealth mandated topics—such as heart health and managing medications—along with materials that fit the household’s specific situation. In practice, this can range from providing information on fuel assistance to dietary advice for a diabetic.
In addition to the ongoing training, AFC provides live-in caregivers with a tax-free stipend of up to $18,550 and two-weeks of paid time off annually.
The program is provided at no cost to the person receiving care, provided they are eligible for MassHealth Standard or Commonhealth and have a chronic medical or psychiatric diagnosis that necessitates assistance with at least one of the following: bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring between positions, ambulating or eating.
Caregivers must be able to meet those needs and live in the same home as the person receiving care. Friends and family are eligible to become live-in caregivers—but legal guardians and spouses are not.
At AFC we know many caregivers come into the process with much to learn. Through training and ongoing support, our goal is helping them become the best care providers they can be.
By Jeanne Leyden and Nathan Lamb