A first-of-its-kind health care bill has been passed in the state of Hawaii.
The bill, known as Kapuna Care, is meant to help fund in-home care for seniors and is just waiting for the Governor’s signature to go into effect.
Above anything else, the bill was inspired by the giving culture many Hawaiians follow. Kapuna, the Hawaiian word for seniors, is used like the word “grandparent” but also brings the meaning of wisdom, guidance, and experience. In naming the bill Kapuna Care, the Hawaiian government is sending a message that they are willing to help their senior residents gracefully age in place.
The inspiration behind the bill is that in Hawaiian culture, it is expected of the younger members of the family to take care of their grandparents. Most of the time, this places a burden on the children and grandchildren, who normally have to pay for the in-home care nurses out of their own pocket.
“If children already live in Hawaii, they often have to quit their jobs to stay at home to care for aging parents, which may result in financial disaster for the family and a loss of tax revenue of the state,” the House bill explains, as reported by Home Health Care News.
So to help, the bill would provide $70 daily to seniors who are not living in a care facility, as a means to offset their health care costs. This cost can be used to cover nurses, physical therapists, and even food care, along with home health care insurance. Considering that the injury rate for home health care workers is about 50% greater than that of hospital workers, there will be even more to worry about in terms of financial autonomy.
Considering that about one-third of all adults between ages 40 and 70 care for an aging relative, once signed, this bill will help out many families and perhaps cause a trickle-down effect for other states to follow.