WHY UTAH NEEDS A FAMILY RESPITE PROGRAM FOR THOSE
IMPACTED BY DISABILITY
Four advocacy organizations (Grassroots Advocacy Partnership, Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities, Utah Developmental Disabilities Council, and Disability Law Center) have come together to request an appropriation of $350,000 to provide critical support to families on the Division of Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD) waiting list through a Family Respite Program (FRP).
There are 1,878* families waiting for services throughout Utah. The FRP will help some of these families with respite services they need.
⫸ Respite care is relief for those who are caring for family members with disabilities. Respite can prevent the need for more intensive services that the family would not otherwise choose. Respite programs provide planned short-term and time-limited breaks for families and other unpaid caregivers of children and adults with disabilities. Respite helps keep the family unit together. The FRP will allow families to hire caregivers to provide direct care in their home. For example, a caregiver may be hired for a few hours a week, giving the family caregiver an opportunity to focus on other siblings.
⫸ Respite care is the MOST requested DSPD service because it gives families a break from the constant stress of caregiving and helps prevent further crisis. These individuals are already determined Medicaid eligible and qualified for much more costly services.
⫸ The FRP is a Utah designed program and is intended to serve a limited number of families without additional federal oversight. FRP supports the collection and analyses of data on the program’s effectiveness and possibly a limited services-type waiver.
⫸ Funding the FRP at $350,000 will begin to serve families with the most critical needs-families near or in crisis today.
⫸ The value of respite cannot be overstated. It provides the family caregiver with dependable care options while the caregiver engages in self-care and tends to other family responsibilities. Respite also can be a source of prevention for potential abuse and neglect. Uninterrupted and persistent stress among family caregivers has been shown to contribute to negative health outcomes, increased use of medications, and increases in depression.(1)
Furthermore, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest respite care as a means for keeping balance in the family (see www.cdc.gov
Caregiving Tips for Families of People With Disabilities).
WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU:
Please join us in asking your legislators to support this appropriations request. Contact your state senator and representative. Tell them you are a member of GAP and that you support the appropriation for a Family Respite Program. Send emails to your family and friends and ask for their support. Share this information with other disability organizations. A printable copy of the fact sheet is available here.
(1)As just two of many research findings about the value of respite, see the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. virginia.gov; and the Administration for Children and Families at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
*As of January 22, 2013