RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council Holds First Meeting
By PVA National Staff
On August 28 and 29, the RAISE Family Caregiving Council held its first meeting in Washington, DC. The council was authorized under the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, which became law on January 22, 2018, and directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a national family caregiving strategy. The strategy is supposed to identify actions that communities, providers, government, and others are taking and may take to recognize and support family caregivers. To support the development and execution of the strategy, the RAISE Act also charged the council with providing recommendations to HHS on effective models of both family caregiving and support to family caregivers, as well as improving coordination across federal government programs.
The council is composed of representatives from federal agencies and the private sector as well as individuals who are caregivers or recipients of caregiving. Among the members of the council are Lynda C. Davis, Ph.D., Chief Veterans Experience Officer with VA, Casey Shillam, Ph.D., R.N., an Air Force veteran with a disability who serves on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Health Policy Advisory Council, and Theresa Tanous, M.A., who retired from the VA in 2012 after 33 years of service, working mostly in the field of health information technology on a national level.
Mr. Lance Robertson, Administrator of the Administration on Community Living (ACL) at HHS and one of the co-chairs of the council, welcomed the members and outlined the processes that the council would follow during its operation. He also pointed to a RAISE Act Family Caregiver Resource Center that would soon be set up and serve as a national resource portal for state policymakers and other stakeholders. To ground the advisory council in its work, the first day was devoted to an overview of federal programs that support family caregivers in various ways and to the national landscape of services and policies affecting caregivers. While uneven funding and programmatic silos were identified as current challenges that need to be overcome, the VA Caregiver program was cited as a model system that blends the needs of the care recipient and the caregiver. In developing the National Family Caregiver Strategy, the council was directed to involve not only HHS but also VA and the Department of Labor. The council broke into small groups for report outs on the second day concerning issues the members believe need to be addressed. Among those issues were a lack of knowledge about resources among caregivers and those they care for, finding evidence based best practices to support caregivers, and enhancing public awareness of the value of caregiving. Information about the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council and ACL’s programs that support caregivers can be found at: https://acl.gov/programs/support-caregivers