Banner Podcasts

This Conversations on Caregiving podcast series highlights the work of individual Innovative & Exemplary respite programs and services across the nation.

ARCH has recognized Innovative & Exemplary respite programs and services annually since 2019.  Innovative & Exemplary programs vary in approaches and settings –– community and faith-based, university-based, volunteer –– but each program meets defined criteria for best respite practices in seven key areas, including: volunteer and professional development, person- and family-centered practice, performance measurement, and sustainability.

The human stories presented in Conversations on Caregiving inspire and show us practical ways to incorporate respite best practices day-to-day in our own work.

Welcome to Conversations on Caregiving, and thanks for listening.


Listen here on the ARCH website, on Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud, Anchor or  EN Google Podcasts Badge 2x .



  • Podcast writing, moderating and editing by Susan Janko Summers and Casandra Firman, ARCH

  • Podcast production by Corey Whitmore at Media22

  • Music by Chris Haugen

Podcast One: Not free, but freely given

MaryJo Alimena Caruso

Speaker:  MaryJo Alimena Caruso, Former Director of CareBreaks Respite Care Program, Sewickly, PA

Read more

In this inaugural ARCH podcast in the ARCH series, Conversations on Caregiving, educator Mary Jo Alimena Caruso describes how she created a volunteer respite program for caregivers of children with disabilities. The program was notable in its ability to foster strong, caring, and lasting relationships between volunteers and families. Mary Jo offers important insights to anyone wishing to build a volunteer respite program that is measurably effective in reducing caregiver stress, and socially and emotionally supportive of both caregiving families and volunteers, resulting in lasting relationships and meaningful experiences for all.



ARCH Volunteer Respite Manual: Creating Valuable Options for Family Caregivers

Webinar: Volunteer Respite –– Putting the Pieces Together: Implementation from Recruitment to Matching

  Podcast Two: Respite is a contact sport, not a spectator sport

 C.McGrane headshot

Speaker: Christine McGrane MS, RN, CNE, University of Rhode Island

Read more


Melissa Leisen

Speaker: Melissa Leisen, Ph.D., RN, Assistant Professor , Marymount University

Read more

In this second podcast in the ARCH series, Conversations on Caregiving, Melissa Leisen and Christine McGrane introduce their college- and university-based pediatric respite programs in Virginia, and in Rhode Island. Melissa and Christine describe how these two programs were created, and the benefits for both caregiving families and nursing students in training. Important for workforce development, Melissa and Christine discuss training content and process, and the qualities and skills students acquire and carry forward with them in their careers after having trained in pediatric respite programs.



ARCH Innovative and Exemplary Respite: Claude Moore Precious Time

Claude Moore Precious Time: A Pediatric Respite Care ProgramClaude Moore Precious Time: A Pediatric Respite Care Program 

ARCH Innovative and Exemplary Respite: Rhode Island CareBreaks

Youtube Video: CareBreaks –– Nursing Students as Respite Providers

Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging: CareBreaks

Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging: Lifespan Respite

Podcast Three: Flooding the airways with kindness

Sharon Leary

Speaker: Sharon Leary, Former Director, Home Away from Home Respite Care

Read more

In this third podcast in the ARCH Series, Conversations on Caregiving, educator Sharon Leary talks about a multidisciplinary, undergraduate university-based respite program serving caregiving families of adults with Alzheimer’s and other memory related conditions. Sharon illuminates the many ways students benefit and grow personally and professionally from providing respite care. By including and respecting the individual gifts every caregiver, care recipient, and student brings to the respite experience, Sharon shows how volunteer respite can result in life affirming and life changing experiences for all.



ARCH Innovative and Exemplary Respite: SUNY Geneseo Home Away from Home Respite Center