The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs is in the process of partnering up with the Northern Marianas College to provide its nursing students hands-on experience in respite care.
According to DCCA Secretary Robert Hunter, he and his staff met with representatives of NMC sometime last week to discuss partnering on the respite care program that will soon be a program headed by the department.
Nursing students will be given the opportunity to get hands-on experience in taking care of a senior citizen or an individual with special needs.
“There is a bill at the Legislature to place the respite care program under DCCA…to use the program to benefit nursing school students and to see specific training for respite care providers,” Hunter said.
The respite care program would provide unpaid primary caretakers (like family members or loved ones) of special needs individuals and seniors with time off for themselves to take care of personal or household errands.
“Respite care providers will either go into a home during a scheduled time and relieve the primary caretaker for a set period or utilize the respite care facility. The respite care facility will accommodate respite care outside of the home as necessary,” he said.
Respite care programs have been proven to reduce abuse, especially elder abuse, and improve the overall care of children with disabilities and senior citizens who are being cared for full-time at home. Respite care services also improve the caretaker’s health.