Respite May Offer Temporary Break, Free Time for Qualified Caregivers

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- For caregivers who are taking care of loved ones with a disability or medical condition, sometimes a break is much needed.

That’s where the Nebraska Respite Program can come in.

According to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services, “Respite service pays someone to come into the home, take care of an individual with special needs, and give the primary caregiver a temporary break.”

It has helped Pamela Lantzer who is the primary caregiver for her grandson Austin.

"well my life did a 360," said Lantzer. "I had not planned on retiring and raising a two-year-old but God sends us blessings when we don't know we need them. He's been a true blessing. It's been challenging without a doubt."

But having some time to herself makes things a little easier.

Lantzer says Austin does go to school but she also gets some help with respite services through the state.

"When I first found out about the respite program I applied and was approved for him because I needed a break...we just needed a break from the day to day stuff and we were given, you know, an amount we could spend and so I found a daycare center that was willing to accept it," said Lantzer.

When daycare is not open or available, she can use the money to hire a caregiver she knows.

For those who want to help out families like Lantzer's or feel they may be in a similar situation, the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute and Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services is looking for you. In a release, they highlight the need for respite services.

According to the release, Sharon Johnson, DHHS Program Coordinator, Lifespan Respite and Disabled Persons & Family Support, said the need for respite is significant.

That’s why UNMC and DHHS are looking for people across Nebraska who want to train to provide those respite care services. They are also interested in families who may be eligible.

You can find out if you qualify to get respite services by calling 1-866-RESPITE or visiting https: nrrs.ne.gov/respitesearch.

There are six respite coordinators across Nebraska and they can be contacted as follows:

Central Region, Lydia Hovie
626 N St., POB 509, Loup City, NE 68853
308-745-0780 Ext. 145 or toll-free 866-737-7483 Ext. 145
lhovie@cennecs.org

Southeast Region, Mary Shada
1701 S. 17th St., Suite 2D, Lincoln, NE 68502
402-434-3494, Ext. 103 or toll-free: 866-737-7483
mary@ywcalincoln.org

Eastern Region, Ellen Bennett
4223 Center St., Omaha, NE 68105
402-996-8444 or toll-free 866-737-7483
edbenne@gmail.com

Southwest Region, Helena Janousek
404 W. 10th, McCook, NE 69001
308-345-4990 or toll-free 866-737-7483
respite@swhealth.ne.gov

Northern Region, Lydia Hovie
626 N St., POB 509, Loup City, NE 68853
308-745-0780 Ext. 145 or toll-free 866-737-7483
lhovie@cennecs.org

Western Region, Sherri Blome
300 Shelton Street, Chadron, NE 69337
308-432-8190 or toll-free 866-737-7483
specialprojects@wchr.net

According to the Nebraska DHHS website, the Lifespan Respite Subsidy Program pays for respite services.