National Family Caregivers Month

By: Alere Staff
Publication Date: Wed, 01/01/2014

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Caregivers are the lifeline of many patients taking warfarin (brand name Coumadin® medication). Traditionally, their role has included but not limited to: putting medications out for the week, getting patients to and from the physician office and laboratories, and insuring proper medication adherence. To recognize our nation’s caregivers, a 2009 Federal Proclamation declared November as National Caregiver Month.

The National Family Caregiver Support Program and Lifespan Respite Care Act enacted by President Obama created resources for caregivers and children caring for aging parents. The program is designed to keep families together while caring for one another. The U.S. government also has a listing of caregiver resources online to support caregivers with information about finding help, government benefits, and more.

Caregivers include professionals as well as family members, friends and neighbors.

Caregiver’s lifesaving role keeps patients in control of their disease and the medication used to treat their disease. The 2008 expanded Medicare coverage of warfarin patient self-testing had a positive impact for caregivers who help care for patients taking warfarin.

New Roles for Patient Caregivers

Patient self-testing allows patients to test their own blood at home between routine doctor visits. More frequent monitoring keeps the patient’s blood levels of warfarin more closely in check. Home testing does require a level of function that not all patients are capable of doing on their own. The fingerstick to draw the blood sample and applying the small drop of blood to the test strip causes problems for some patients and is not possible for some including those with hand tremor, poor or no sight at all.

Caregivers have enabled patients that otherwise would not have been selected for home testing, the ability to test at home. Patients can now test more frequently, including weekly, which is reimbursed by Medicare and most private insurance companies. Weekly testing has been shown to reduce drifts or declines in blood levels more effectively than non-weekly which results in improved patient safety.1

Home INR Monitoring eliminates the need for caregivers to drive the patient to and from a lab for blood tests or incur the cost for a home health nurse to draw blood samples. Time and money is saved with home INR testing while improving the quality of life for the patient and caregiver alike.

Go to the Getting Started page or call Alere at 1.800.504.4032 for more information about testing your INR at home.

1. Ansell, J. March 2012. Patient Self-Testing: Real-World Experience Within a Comprehensive Support Service Represents a New Standard of Care, Attaining High Quality Anticoagulation Control. Poster presented at: American College of Cardiology.