Volunteer and Faith-Based Respite Learning Collaborative Meeting

February 9, 2023

Students as Respite Volunteers: A Creative Approach to Supporting Family Caregivers

Using students from undergraduate and graduate nursing, social work, and other health care professional academic programs as volunteer respite providers is a growing approach among Lifespan Respite Care Programs and others to support family caregivers and address the direct care worker shortage. ARCH recently released several podcasts focused on this topic in its series on Conversations on Caregiving: Exploring Respite Care Innovations as part of its Innovative and Exemplary Respite Services initiative. In in-depth interviews, innovators from several respite programs using students as respite providers shared their research, experience, and wisdom regarding these very successful efforts.

The following speakers will present during the Learning Collaborative on these topics:

1) Volunteer-based University Model for Respite Care

Kim Whitmore, Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at Marquette University, will share information about the Student Respite Program Toolkit currently being developed in partnership with the Respite Care Association of Wisconsin. This toolkit will provide comprehensive, step-by-step guidance to academic programs on how to establish partnerships with existing respite programs and develop their own respite programs that will provide students with unique experiential learning opportunities while also expanding respite care for family caregivers. The toolkit was informed by an environmental scan that included a review of research articles and other publications. A national survey was also conducted to help identify existing student respite programs and one-on-one interviews were conducted with program leads to help better understand how programs were developed, maintained, and evaluated.

2) The Buddy Break Program

The Idaho Family Caregiver Alliance (ICA) and the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) joined forces to create the Buddy Break program. This is a remote respite program where AHEC scholars serve as respite providers for families caring for anyone over the age of eighteen. The ICA through the Family Caregiver Navigator (FCN) initiative serves as a “matchmaker” for caregivers and scholars. Buddy Break provides a unique opportunity for students to learn about the caregiving experience and provides caregivers with a break. Join us to learn more about the ins and outs of this collaboration. Read more about National AHEC Program.


Katrina Hoff, Director, Idaho AHEC Program
Sheila Weaver, Program Manager, Family Caregiver Navigator, Idaho Caregiver Alliance
Sarah Toevs, Director, Center for the Study of Aging, Boise State University