Finding caregivers and respite workers is perhaps the most difficult task for anyone with a serious disability. Anyone reading this blog probably knows what goes into finding good workers for our guys and how we need to be sure they are trained! And then, we pray to keep them once we’ve found them.
There is a group out there that is working to make this an easier task, as well as a way to provide training for these workers. The nonprofit RewardingWork.org was started by a dear friend of mine years ago, as an organization that would help find caregivers for those on Medicaid or Medicare. Helping family caregivers is the most promising way to cut health care costs and improve outcomes for caregivers and consumers. Respite workers are key by giving caregivers breaks so they can continue their support, preventing institutional placement, hospitalizations and emergency room use.
One study found that if respite care delays institutionalization of a person with Alzheimer’s disease by as little as a month, the cumulative national annual savings amounts to $1.12 billion (Leon, et al., 1998). A similar study in 1995 found that as respite use increased, the probability of nursing home placement decreased significantly (Kosloski, K. and Montgomery, R.J.V., 1995). The total savings are potentially more significant as the value of supports that family caregivers provide is estimated to be greater than $450 billion dollars across the country.
Five hundred national and state partners in 11 wide-ranging states are ready to work with RewardingWork.org to expand their nascent respite network of caregivers, a web-based registry recognized as a promising practice by CMS, (the federal department in charge of Medicaid/Medicare) to increase the pool of trained volunteer and paid respite and direct care workers.
RewardingWork will 1) Provide a secure online resource to help caregivers, particularly those caring for veterans or someone on Medicaid or Medicare find respite workers; 2) Enable people of all ages living independently or with a loved one find workers; 3) Create metrics that track the impact of workers on financial and health outcomes to support a national program funded by MCOs and other payers.
You can help by voting for RewardingWork on the Robert Wood Johnson Grant Foundation website so that they can get a grant to continue expanding this valuable registry of workers! Go to this link, sign in via Google, Facebook, or other ways, and vote for this project! Leave a comment if you’d like, too! Thanks!