Determination of Massachusetts’ respite policies and the potential impact of unpaid family care giver support on home and community based services

Friday, July 14, 2017
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Leanne Winchester, MS, RN
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Kate Russell, MA
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Kelly Love, JD
University of Massachusetts Medical School

Direct care workforce shortages, increasing health care costs, and limited access to services force many families to make life-changing decisions to care for family members with long term disabilities or who are chronically ill at home. For this project, the authors conducted an environmental scan of current policies and programs for state and federally funded respite services across Massachusetts’ state agencies.

The results of this project demonstrate the variability in Massachusetts’ state policies and program practices in four primary areas:

  • The types of respite services offered by state agencies

  • The agencies definition of respite services

  • Variability in the ability of families to access services

  • The methods employed to track the delivery and outcomes of services

This study concludes with recommendations to enhance the delivery of respite as an integral part of long-term services and supports in Massachusetts.