Many State Respite Care Programs for Family Caregivers on Chopping Block

More than 80% of long-term care services are provided for by family caregivers, and many state and community programs meant to give those caregivers respite are in danger, reports Kaiser Health News.

Most states are facing tough budget decision, the article says, and programs providing short-term relief through options including paid home care workers and temporary stays at residential care facilities or adult day care centers are increasingly on the chopping block. 

While some families are able to pay for these respite programs out of their own pockets, many rely on the state or community funds. 

“These services have just come under pretty serious attack at the state level,” said Jill Kagan, program director of the Access to Respite Care and Help (ARCH) National Respite Network and Resource Center, in the KHN article. “The current economic climate that we’re in and that every state is facing has made it really difficult to expand any services at all. This comes on top of the fact that there was not enough respite for family caregivers to begin with.”

States facing either proposed or recently enacted cuts include:

  • Illinois: Expected to lose $76.3 million from community services for people with developmental disabilities, plus a $56 million trim from group homes, day centers, and employment programs.
  • Tennessee: Getting a more than $182,000 cut from several state programs including Family Support Program which provides respite care.
  • Rhode Island: Will get a 25% cut to State Community Grants, which includes a $136,680 grant to the Catholic Diocese of Providence funding a program that provides respite care to caregivers for the elderly.
  • New Hampshire: Suspending Alzheimer’s respite funds from state budget.
  • California: Proposed elimination of $2.9 million of state funding, and $3.9 million in federal funding, for the state’s 11 Caregiver Resource Centers, which provide services that include respite care. 
“Many experts believe reductions could have adverse consequences as the population ages and as more senior parents struggle to care for adult children with severe disabilities,” reads the KHN article. “They also point out that respite is cost-effective, since it helps keep patients out of more expensive institutional care.”

Read the full article at Kaiser Health News

Written by Alyssa Gerace

Alyssa Gerace

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