Lifespan Respite Care Act Reauthorization: Assist Families Caring for Loved Ones With Disabilities and Chronic Conditions

Mar 7, 2012

 

On behalf of our nation’s family caregivers, we hope you will join us in cosponsoring H.R. 3266, the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2011. 

 

As Congress searches for thoughtful policy solutions to the challenge of escalating costs in our healthcare system, it is crucial to find common, bipartisan ground upon which we can agree.

 

Respite provides temporary care for families engaged in the full-time task of caring for their aging or disabled loved ones.  These families may have a father with Alzheimer’s disease, a mother with Multiple Sclerosis, an injured husband returning from war in Iraq, or a child with autism.  Whatever the medical condition may be, these family caregivers provide approximately 80 percent of long term care to the chronically ill.  They make it possible for their family member to remain in the home, avoiding or delaying the need for admission to costly institutional facilities.   Unfortunately, 89 percent of the nation’s 65 million family caregivers do notreceive respite services.   

 

Reports have estimated the economic value of this uncompensated family caregiving to be approximately $450 billion, more than total Medicaid spending in 2009. However, this 24 hour a day commitment of caring for loved ones comes with another price, and that is the toll taken on the caregiver’s emotional, physical, and financial wellbeing.  Without access to caregiver support services that respite care provides, these families will not be able to continue to care for their loved ones at home.

 

As the only federal program to address respite accessibility and affordability issues for families regardless of age or disability, the Lifespan Respite Care program serves a critical and unique purpose.  This program provides caregiver respite by coordinating federal, state and local resources and funding mechanisms to streamline the delivery of planned and emergency respite services, providing for the recruitment and training of respite workers, and providing caregiver training.

 

We encourage you to join us in supporting our nation’s family caregivers by cosponsoring the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act.  For more information or to sign on to this bill, please contact Todd Adams (Langevin) at Todd.Adams@mail.house.gov, or Karen Summar (McMorris Rodgers) at Karen.Summar@mail.house.gov.