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Respite Care Task Force

The Respite Care Task Force was created to research and pose recommendations designed to address systematic barriers to respite care access and availability in Colorado. The Task Force proposed seven recommendations to the Colorado Department of Human Services, four of which were funded with a state grant. Easterseals Colorado (and the Colorado Respite Coalition) applied for and won the contract to implement these four recommendations, using the grant funds.

Please direct inquiries concerning the Respite Care Task Force project to Meghan Kluth at [email protected] or 303-233-1666 x257.

Read on for more information on the Respite Care Task Force, the funded recommendations, and related projects...


Respite Care Task Force

House Bill 15-1233 created the Respite Care Task Force within the Colorado Department of Human Services to study, through data collection, the dynamics of supply and demand with regard to respite care services in Colorado, including:

Access to respite care services; 

The types of services that are most in demand and the services that are currently available; 

  • The availability and level of culturally competent care and patient-centered care;
  • The number of respite caregivers in the State and their locations; 
  • Solutions to increase the number of respite caregivers; 
  • The funding of respite care services, including access to that funding;

Other respite care issues are determined appropriate by the task force.

The Task Force met over a six-month period, and was comprised of fourteen appointees representing various stakeholder groups, including respite care recipients, home health care agencies, respite care agencies, hospice agencies, and specific special health care need support and advocacy groups.


Respite Care Task Force Recommendations & Funding

Based on their research and discussion, the Respite Care Task Force proposed six recommendations to the legislature. Four of these recommendations were approved and assigned funding, to be overseen by the Colorado Depatrtment of Human Services. These four approved recommendations focused on the following topics:

  • Caregiver outreach and education;
    • Creating and disseminating a statewide CO caregiver outreach and awareness campaign
    • Website improvements to help family and professional caregivers access resources and support
  • Professional and family caregiver training;
    • Create an up-to-date, online inventory of existing training opportunities for providing respite care along with information on how to become a respite care provider
    • Identification of a best-practices, multi-tiered template for respite trainings
  • Streamlining the Medicaid HCBS waivers and regulatory requirements for facility-based overnight care;
  • Conducting a study to demonstrate the economic impact of respite care service utilization.

Contract & Advisory Committee

Easter Seals Colorado (ESC), the 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency which houses the Colorado Respite Coalition, submitted a proposal following an RFP released by the CDHS in October 2016. Ultimately, ESC was awarded the contract to implement the recommendations made by the Respite Care Task Force and the contract was executed in February 2017. 

Further contracts were created with organizations to support the Task Force project implementation, including a PR and marketing firm, a policy nonprofit, and a research and evaluation organization.

An advisory committee was also created to give feedback on updates regarding each of the four recommendations. The group met quarterly and was comprised of eight community stakeholders and partners to gain feedback through SFY2017 and SFY2018. Many original Respite Care Task Force members served on the advisory committee, including representatives from Easterseals Colorado, various Colorado State Departments, family advocacy groups, Community Centered Boards, respite agencies, and family caregivers. The advisory committee will continue to meet in SFY2019, and new members may be added based on the work plan.


Supporting Colorado Caregivers Through Respite Care

Easterseals Colorado and the Colorado Respite Coalition contracted with the Bell Policy Center to research and pose policy-based recommendations regarding: (a) streamlining the Medicaid HCBS waivers; (b) regulatory requirements for facility-based overnight care. Read their report "Supporting Colorado Caregivers Through Respite Care" here.


Respite Care Provider Core Competency Training Recommendations 

Respite provider training has long-been a challenge for both providers and families across the state. In Colorado, there is no training requirement or certification to become a respite provider, and so training levels between providers and agencies differ widely. Many families report that they feel providers are not trained well enough, and providers may have to repeat non-standardized trainings between agencies. Lack of consistent and comprehensive training can leave providers feeling ill-equipped to complete their care tasks at work, potentially creating dangerous situations for care recipients and/or providers. Lack of comprehensive training can lead to high turnover, which is costly to respite providers, and reduces respite care availability at a statewide level.

As such, the Colorado Respite Coalition has developed a series of core competency training recommendations for respite care providers. These recommendations are based on a thorough review of various statewide and national training programs or certification for direct care workers, primarily the multi-phase research project "Road Map of Core Competencies for the Direct Service Workforce" by the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS). 

These recommendations consist of a series of training skill statements, grouped into six core competency areas. Further, the three training tiers demonstrate the differing level of training skill required to provide companionship, personal, and medical-level respite care. These recommendations are only initial, and will be incorporated into a training toolkit for respite providers and employers. They are intended to support individuals across the respite industry. To view these initial recommendations, please click here.


Colorado Caregiver Survey and Caregiver Interviews

As part of the cost-benefit study on respite care, an extensive survey and multiple interviews were conducted regarding caregivers' experiences in providing care, utilization of respite services, and the impact of caregiving and respite on their physical, social, emotional and economic health. To read the report on the Colorado caregiver survey and subsequent interviews (all interviewees were survey responders), please click here

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Colorado Respite Coalition
393 S Harlan St, Ste 108
Lakewood, CO 80226

303-233-1666 Phone
303-233-1028 Fax

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