Rhode Island CareBreaks – Nursing Student Respite Workforce Initiative


Cranston, Rhode Island

Innovative and Exemplary:

The Rhode Island CareBreaks – Nursing Student Respite Workforce Initiative has supported caregivers of children and adults with long-term disabilities or medical needs, especially underserved families for whom respite services are unavailable or inadequate, by providing respite through nursing students as part of their college curriculum. Five Rhode Island colleges and universities work in partnership with the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging to provide training and support of junior and senior level nursing students. In addition to strengthening the respite workforce and sensitizing pre-service health care professionals to the importance of and need for respite, individual university programs allow students to specialize in policy, leadership and legislative advocacy projects. The program has developed a replication toolkit, Supporting Family Caregivers, for use by other institutions of higher learning. An evaluation plan is used to ensure quality assurance in day-to-day services, and to document achievement of goals and objectives. Outcome data demonstrate that the respite services provided relieve caregiver stress, and qualitative data indicate that the bonds created between parents through a group respite component reduce social isolation. Watch the Video and see the Toolkit for starting a similar program.  Listen to the podcast Podcast 2 – Respite is a contact sport, not a spectator sport to learn more about the program.