‘Caretakers also need a break’


Family members who are taking care of their relatives who are disabled or have chronic disease also need to take a break and that’s why the Commonwealth Respite Service Program was launched in 2004.

CRSP, which is under Ayuda Network Inc., was created under CNMI Public Law 14-36 where it gives assistance to families by providing caregivers or caretakers so they could take a break in tending to their sick relative.

“People who take care of their sick or bed ridden relatives also need some time off. This is where CRSP comes in, by providing assistance in having professional caregivers or nurses take their place for at least four to six hours,” said Ayuda Network Inc. executive director Diana Camacho at yesterday’s Rotary Club of Saipan meeting where she served as guest speaker.

“Stress is a factor in not getting enough rest. Having a couple of hours break would give the individual taking care of their family member time to do other house chores, spend time with their kids or spouse, and accompany their relative in their medical appointments.”

CRSP currently has a voucher program issued to primary health care providers and there are 76 professional caregivers on the island that charge $150 an hour, nurses that also assist the patients with their medicines, or $50 just to sit and mingle with the client.

There are 1,000 cases that need assessment here in the CNMI where 88 percent said they would want to avail of the program, which has a waiting list. The government, however, only allots $53,000 to fund the program.

“That amount is only for our one month fund. I can walk to the Legislature and ask for additional funding or I could apply for federal grant but I’m not a grant writer. That’s why we’re hoping if we could also get help from other organizations like the Rotary,” said Camacho.

She added that they also partnered with the Northern Marianas College Nursing Club in providing training and workshops to learn how to take care of a client. They also concluded with a respite workshop last Friday.

“We need your support and from the private sector. We are looking for alternative sources of our funds to help the families who want to avail of the program,” said Camacho.

The Ayuda Network was established in 1992 with the mission of serving, supporting and advancing the CNMI people’s interest, meet human needs, and critical social issues. It is an alliance that is working to have a safe, healthy, cohesive, and just community.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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