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The University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe Meyer Institute is offering a two-day respite care training session April 28-29 in Omaha.

Respite care offers short-term relief for people providing primary care to people with full-time health care needs. With more than 67 million people in the United States providing care for a disabled parent, spouse, or child at least 20 hours per week, sometimes without support, respite care is a crucial need in this country, according to Caregiver Action Network.

The REST (Respite Education & Support Tools) training session, will be held at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute, Room 3016, 444 S. 44th St., Omaha. It is a “train-the-trainer”-style program in which participants can then return to their communities and teach an eight-hour respite training class. Settings can include churches, universities, community groups and other service or provider organizations that wish to create a local network of skilled respite care providers supported by the Nebraska Lifespan Respite Network.

“Training programs like REST strengthen communities,” said Sharon Johnson, respite program coordinator, Department of Health & Human Services -- Children & Family Services. “Respite providers not only make a positive impact on family caregivers in need of a temporary break, but care recipients of any age or special need also benefit from the support.”

In Nebraska, respite is funded through a variety of programs. Families and advocates may call a Respite Network Coordinator in their area at 866-737-7483 for help with respite resources. Respite information also is available at the DHHS supported website “Nebraska Resource and Referral System” at nrrs.ne.gov/respitesearch/. This free service will assist 24/7 in finding network-approved respite providers and supportive services throughout Nebraska that best fit individual needs and location.

“There is a great need for respite services for caregivers, including many of our employees here at UNMC and Nebraska Medicine who are caring for children with special needs or parents who are aging,” said Wayne Stuberg, associate director of the Munroe-Meyer Institute. “Respite programs help to meet the needs of both those receiving the service and their caregivers. It is our hope to promote the training to students in the health care professions as they already have significant knowledge of the special needs of many families.”

REST can be customized, and training materials are available in English and Spanish. The training is made possible in part by a federal grant awarded to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services from the Nebraska Department of Education, Office of Special Education, in collaboration with UNMC/Munroe-Meyer Institute.

To register, go to restprogram.org/register/. For information on REST, contact Lisa Esposito, REST administrative assistant at 630-397-5656 or lesposito@restprogram.org, or go to restprogram.org.

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