ALBANY, N.Y. - December 1, 2016 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D-NY) signed into law a bill that will allow advanced home health aides to give medication to patients and perform certain other advanced tasks, provided they complete training and are under supervision. Before the law, aides were restricted to reminding patients to take their medications; only nurses or family members could administer them.
Cuomo reasoned that the cost of sending a nurse to a patient's home three times a day to administer routine medications is cost prohibitive. "Plus, it is unreasonably burdensome on a family caregiver to come home from work in the middle of the day to do it, assuming a family member even lives nearby," said Allison Cook of PHI, a nonprofit that advocates for eldercare workers. "This new law really meets a need that hasn't been filled before."
To be eligible, New York's 300,000 home care aides who have worked at least one year will be able to get additional training to administer pre-packaged and pre-poured medications under the supervision of a registered nurse. Once trained, aides will be able to give insulin injections to diabetic patients and emergency injections of epinephrine.
This soon after the bill was signed into law, New York does not yet have proposals for regulations specifying training requirements. PHI estimates it will be 18 months before aides with advanced training are in the field, Cook said.
Trade organizations, advocates and other groups issued a report recommending aides receive a minimum of 40 hours of training on top of the two weeks of training required to become a certified home health aide.
Impact on Alzheimers patients
"This important legislation will allow more of the 390,000 New Yorkers with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia to be cared for at home," said David Sobel, president and CEO of the Hudson Valley Chapter. "Unpaid family members and caregivers are often asked to help with tasks like giving medication, which can be uncomfortable or inconvenient for them."
By 2025, approximately 460,000 New Yorkers age 65 or older will suffer from the disease. That’s almost an 18 percent increase from today. Alzheimer’s costs Medicaid more than $4 billion in New York each year.
Many people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia receive long-term services and supports to facilitate daily life from home health aides and personal care aides. Having an AHHA will also allow more people with dementia to remain at home and age in place longer, preventing premature placement in a skilled nursing facility. This measure will likely save hundreds of millions in New York State Medicaid dollars annually.
"This is a victory for all New Yorkers with Alzheimer’s disease and their 1.1 million caregivers," said Jane Ginsburg, executive director of the Coalition of New York State Alzheimer’s Association Chapters. "Alzheimer’s is a public health crisis, and we applaud Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for supporting this effort to keep New Yorkers at home."
©2016 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. firstname.lastname@example.org