The Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Respite Impact Council has released two foundational documents that will guide the ongoing work of the Council and provide resources for military and veteran caregivers. The Council, chaired by Jed Johnson, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Easter Seals, and Jill Kagan, Program Director for ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center, is comprised of experts on the issue of respite care and caregivers with firsthand knowledge of where we must strengthen existing resources. Their work has been shaped by the concerns raised about access to respite care by the Foundation’s RAND study.
The first document, released in conjunction with the start of National Family Caregiver Month, established the Council’s definition of respite care. The Council concluded that without this single, unifying description of the required elements of respite care, they could not establish a standard by which respite services could be created and measured.
Because the Council supports a lifespan approach to military caregiver respite, the members chose a definition utilized by the Lifespan Respite Care Act, which defines respite care as, “Planned or emergency care provided to a child or adult with a special need in order to provide temporary relief to the family caregiver of the child or adult.”
The Council followed-up their definitional document with a list of respite care resources for military and veteran caregivers. The goal of this list was to give caregivers an easy-to-find and easy-to-consume collection of organizations offering counsel and services related to respite.