The Joint Legislative Committee on Family Caregiving met today to discuss the results of an assessment of 600 caregivers across Hawaii to help develop a comprehensive public policy program to support family caregivers who provide unpaid, informal assistance to persons sixty and older with physical or cognitive disabilities (Act 285, 2006). They also reviewed a report of respite care policies and programs in other states, and an inventory of respite services in Hawaii.
According to the results of the Needs Assessment of Family Caregivers in Hawaii, 73 percent of caregivers are female, they are generally young with an average age of 56 and more than half of caregivers are caring for an aging parent. In addition, approximately 12-15 percent of the surveyed caregivers have used community services such nursing, training, case management, legal services and transportation. However, many caregivers cited the need for better medical care and respite services.
The results of the respite service inventory in Hawaii lacked many answers to detailed audience and panel questions. The report listed 43 respite agencies, where only eight of them went offsite to relieve caregivers, and 23 only accepted private payment.In order to develop a comprehensive public policy program to aid these family caregivers more research surveys must be done to answer the following questions:
1. How many people can a respite take in at one time?
2. How much does it cost?
3. What are the hours of operation?
4. What are the terms of acceptance or rejection?
5. What kind of respite is provided? Emergency? Long-term? Short-term?