One of the key ways to prevent caregiver burnout is by taking breaks. Federal lawmakers are trying to make this easier by increasing funding for respite care.
The Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019
The bipartisan bill to expand federal funding of respite care was introduced in April. Over the next five years, $200 million would go to respite care services across the nation.
Not only would this bill reauthorize the existing law from 2006, it would also add a substantial investment. The investment would equate to $20 million for the 2020 fiscal year, then increase each year by $10 million, resulting in $60 million for fiscal year 2024.
Compared to the $2.5 million that Congress allocated each year since 2009, this is a significant increase.
Reducing Financial Strain on Families and the U.S. Healthcare System
According to U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I. who introduced the House of Representatives version of the bill, this funding would help reduce the financial strain that families face.
In addition, when caregivers get the respite care they need — one of the most frequently requested services — they experience better physical health as well. The stress of caregiving can manifest into physical illness, one reason why respite care is crucial.