RAISE Family Caregivers Act Passes the Senate

Oral Health America (OHA) applauds Congress for passage of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act on January 8, 2018, announced OHA President/CEO Beth Truett.  The bill goes to President Donald J. Trump for his signature.

Once enacted into law, the Act will direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop, maintain and periodically update a National Family Caregiving Strategy to support America’s 42 million family caregivers, who provide $450 billion annually in unpaid care.

“We are grateful to Congress for passing the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, and we look forward to its enactment” Truett said. “We appreciate the strong bipartisan support of the Act’s champions, Senators Susan Collins and Tammy Baldwin and Representatives Gregg Harper and Kathy Castor, for shepherding the legislation through Congress. We also sincerely thank the members of the Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Core Group, headed by AARP, and of which we are a proud member, for their hard work and advocacy that led to the bill’s passage.”

Caregiving is important to the oral health community. Family caregivers help with a myriad of activities for daily living, which include performing tasks related to oral health care, in addition to dressing, bathing, eating, and purchasing and administering medications. Moreover, family caregivers generally do not receive training or other instruction to help them provide proper oral care.

“Therefore, the oral health education of family, caregivers, and the aging network is essential if oral diseases are to be avoided later in life or if optimal oral health is to be achieved,” Truett said. “OHA believes the implementation of the RAISE Act will make health resources, training and education for caregivers more readily available and should include materials about the importance of oral health for overall health and wellness.”