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Respite care provides key service to Montana families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 16, 2015

Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936

                Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

 

Respite care provides a key service to Montana families

 

By Kerrie Reidelbach

DPHHS Lifespan Respite Program

 

Nathan was born with significant disabilities. Yet, despite the obstacles he has faced in his 34 years of life, he has always been able to live at home surrounded by his Montana family.

However, Nathan’s mom is quick to point out that this wouldn’t be possible without the respite care their family has received from the Department of Public Health and Human Services’ (DPHHS) Lifespan Respite Program.

This story is not unique as there are 134,000 Montanans who provide care in the home for family members with disabilities.

So, what is respite care? Respite care provides planned or emergency care to an individual with need for support and supervision in order to provide temporary relief to the primary caregiver of that person.

For Nathan and many other Montanans with disabilities and their primary caregivers, this service is life changing.

Caregivers provide a variety of services including everyday tasks such as cooking, feeding, bathing, transferring from a chair to a bed, and transportation to doctor appointments. Additionally they help with administration of complex medications and other health related interventions. Many family caregivers find their role as a caregiver provides spiritual, emotional and even physical benefits.

The various responsibilities and challenges can cause stress on the family caregiver that results in physical and emotional health risks. A ‘respite’ break can help the family caregiver relax, enjoy favorite pastimes, socialize with friends or even get some sleep. Taking a break also gives the care receiver time with someone else. This has the potential to provide the care receiver with greater social interactions and stimulation.

To help provide family caregivers with the support they need, an effort is underway to connect Montana families with valuable services. The Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition has established a statewide coordinated system of easily accessible, quality and affordable respite care services for Montana’s family caregivers or individuals regardless of special needs.

The Coalition has been working to educate caregivers of all ages about the importance of taking a break from their caregiving responsibilities. Recently, the Coalition started a respite program to help family caregivers get the break they need. If you are a family caregiver or if you know someone caring for a loved one of any age, there is help available.

In addition, the Coalition, in partnership with the Aging and Disability Resource Centers and DPHHS, has created a searchable website to assist in finding available local and statewide resources throughout Montana at www.Montana-ADRC.com.   

Information contained in the website has been submitted by various service providers and agencies to create a searchable directory for finding and accessing services. This website focuses on resources related to Montana seniors, adults with disabilities and respite services for all ages. 

This website may:

  • be helpful for a family member that lives out of state or out of town from their loved one and are trying to help them find resources they need,
  • help a family member or friend caring for a loved one in their home that may need assistance,
  • help professionals who work with and advocate for people needing resources,
  • help Montana communities learn more about resources available locally, or 
  • help identify any gaps in services that may be needed.

Funds are available on a sliding fee scale to make respite care affordable for all Montanans who need this service. More information is available at www.respite.mt.gov.

Kerrie Reidelbach is Lifespan Respite Program manager for the Department of Public Health and Human Services.