Wisconsin Health News: November 19, 2018

Alliance aims to support family caregiving in the state

 

“Caregiving is going to be a very big issue in the near future,” said Lynn Gall, family caregiver program coordinator at the Department of Health Services and co-chair of the alliance.

Lisa Pugh, director of the Arc Wisconsin and co-chair of the alliance, said organizations involved in the group were previously working in “silos on the aging side, silos on the disability side.” Together, they’ve been able to identify caregiver issues across the populations.

“There are really great resources in both arenas that we really should be sharing,” she said.
 
The alliance isn’t a lobbying organization, but it's looking at how to inform policymakers about changes that could support caregivers.

For example, the alliance had been exploring exceptions to background checks and professional credentials to help caregivers hire family members or other workers they want.

Other policy fields they’re looking into include upping wages for caregivers, increasing respite care funding, paid family and medical leave, creating a registry connecting families to workers in their area and a tax credit for family caregivers.

Pugh added that Wisconsin also hasn’t “really accessed” federal funds for respite care in the same way that other states have and has a less "complete infrastructure" in terms of respite care.

The alliance is also surveying employers on how family caregiving has impacted their business. So far, they’ve heard from around 200 employers, who reported that caregiving has increased emotional stress, led to work schedule changes, requests for personal time off or reduced work hours.

“We want to engage employers as being partners and finding solutions,” Gall said.“Caregiving is going to be a very big issue in the near future,” said Lynn Gall, family caregiver program coordinator at the Department of Health Services and co-chair of the alliance.

Lisa Pugh, director of the Arc Wisconsin and co-chair of the alliance, said organizations involved in the group were previously working in “silos on the aging side, silos on the disability side.” Together, they’ve been able to identify caregiver issues across the populations.

“There are really great resources in both arenas that we really should be sharing,” she said.
 
The alliance isn’t a lobbying organization, but it's looking at how to inform policymakers about changes that could support caregivers.

For example, the alliance had been exploring exceptions to background checks and professional credentials to help caregivers hire family members or other workers they want.

Other policy fields they’re looking into include upping wages for caregivers, increasing respite care funding, paid family and medical leave, creating a registry connecting families to workers in their area and a tax credit for family caregivers.

Pugh added that Wisconsin also hasn’t “really accessed” federal funds for respite care in the same way that other states have and has a less "complete infrastructure" in terms of respite care.

The alliance is also surveying employers on how family caregiving has impacted their business. So far, they’ve heard from around 200 employers, who reported that caregiving has increased emotional stress, led to work schedule changes, requests for personal time off or reduced work hours.

“We want to engage employers as being partners and finding solutions,” Gall said.