JMIR Aging. 2022 Jun 21;5(2):e32790. doi: 10.2196/32790.
BACKGROUND: The Caregiver Advise Record Enable (CARE) Act is a state level law that requires hospitals to identify and educate caregivers (“family members or friends”) upon discharge.
OBJECTIVE: This study examined the association between the implementation of the CARE Act in a Pennsylvania health system and health service utilization (ie, reducing hospital readmission, emergency department [ED] visits, and mortality) for older adults with diabetes.
METHODS: The key elements of the CARE Act were implemented and applied to the patients discharged to home. The data between May and October 2017 were pulled from inpatient electronic health records. Likelihood-ratio chi-square tests and multivariate logistic regression models were used for statistical analysis.
RESULTS: The sample consisted of 2591 older inpatients with diabetes with a mean age of 74.6 (SD 7.1) years. Of the 2591 patients, 46.1% (n=1194) were female, 86.9% (n=2251) were White, 97.4% (n=2523) had type 2 diabetes, and 69.5% (n=1801) identified a caregiver. Of the 1801 caregivers identified, 399 (22.2%) received discharge education and training. We compared the differences in health service utilization between pre- and postimplementation of the CARE Act; however, no significance was found. No significant differences were detected from the bivariate analyses in any outcomes between individuals who identified a caregiver and those who declined to identify a caregiver. After adjusting for risk factors (multivariate analysis), those who identified a caregiver (12.2%, 219/1801) was associated with higher rates of 30-day hospital readmission than those who declined to identify a caregiver (9.9%, 78/790; odds ratio [OR] 1.38, 95% CI 1.04-1.87; P=.02). Significantly lower rates were detected in 7-day readmission (P=.02), as well as 7-day (P=.03) and 30-day (P=.01) ED visits, among patients with diabetes whose identified caregiver received education and training than those whose identified caregiver did not receive education and training in the bivariate analyses. However, after adjusting for risk factors, no significance was found in 7-day readmission (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.27-1.05; P=.07), 7-day ED visit (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.38-1.03; P=.07), and 30-day ED visit (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.52-1.02; P=.07). No significant associations were found for other outcomes (ie, 30-day readmission and 7-day and 30-day mortality) in both the bivariate and multivariate analyses.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study found that the implementation of the CARE Act was associated with certain health service utilization. The identification of caregivers was associated with higher rates of 30-day hospital readmission in the multivariate analysis, whereas having identified caregivers who received discharge education was associated with lower rates of readmission and ED visit in the bivariate analysis.