Low health literacy is linked to higher healthcare costs.
Studies show that family caregivers improve health outcomes
One third of American adults are family caregivers — individuals who help a family member manage medical care, and more, without being paid. Studies show that when family caregivers are part of the hospital care team, patient outcomes improve.
Family caregivers want to be part of the decision-making team, but their knowledge is inadequate. Thirty million people have “Below Basic” health literacy, which has been linked to higher rates of hospitalization and higher healthcare costs.
To address this health literacy gap and help family caregivers become part of the hospital care team, Caregiving Pathways has created a simple yet comprehensive suite of family caregiver educational materials. The centerpiece of the collection is our guide, How to help your loved one in the hospital: You can make a difference. It uses plain language to teach family caregivers at all levels of health literacy:
- What to expect in the hospital
- How to help a loved one get the best care
- How to plan for care at home after the hospital stay
Our guide even provides the words family caregivers can use when communicating with hospital staff, with the additional intent of streamlining communication and prioritizing questions.
Laws require hospitals to collect family caregiver data
The timing for family caregiver education is ideal because more than half
of U.S. states have passed legislation that requires hospitals to collect family caregiver data. Having that data will enable hospitals and health plans to educate family caregivers and then measure how patient outcomes, readmission rates, and other healthcare performance measures improve.
Our goal is to work with hospitals as they gather and analyze that data — to educate family caregivers and enhance their impact on health outcomes and healthcare costs.