Dr. Margaret Longacre, assistant professor and chair of Public Health, presented at the National Caregivers Conference on Oct. 16. In her presentation titled, “Involving and Supporting Caregivers in Clinical Care using an Integrated Caregiver Portal System,” Dr. Longacre spoke about involving caregivers in the health care process, the current policies and recommendations to involve caregivers in clinical care, and her research on this topic.
“Knowing many individuals are providing family care, the goal is to understand how to positively impact the well-being of the caregiver while they’re in that role and support them as best as possible,” said Dr. Longacre. “The overarching question that I posed in my presentation is, by involving caregivers in clinical care and addressing their skill related needs and psychosocial needs, might caregivers, the patients or care recipients, and the healthcare system ultimately benefit? Basically a ripple effect.”
With the Caregiver, Advise, Report, Enable (CARE) Act enacted in over 40 states—which provides a foundation for caregiver involvement by identifying a caregiver in the electronic medical record when an individual is hospitalized and then notifying the caregiver if the patient is moved—researchers are seeking to figure out how to include caregivers into the process. Dr. Longacre’s work with Fox Chase Cancer Center, funded by a grant from the American Cancer Society, focuses on making a portal system to involve caregivers in clinical care and aims to improve outcomes for caregivers and care recipients. They have developed the portal and are now in the phase of receiving feedback from patients, caregivers, and clinicians.
“I’m excited to see that we, as a society, are moving forward in supporting caregivers,” Dr. Longacre said.