By Anna Jauhola
Respite care is a service all caregivers need occasionally.
Northwest Community Action provides respite care through its Northwest Live Well at Home Respite program and currently has available hours in Kittson and Roseau counties.
Respite Coordinator Bethany Sandwick said the program provides most services, including help with showering, bathroom, housework and summer yard work. They can help organize medications, but cannot dose or administer, she said. However, the program employees cannot provide any nursing services that require a license.
“The goal is to keep people at home as long as safely possible, instead of moving them into a facility,” Sandwick said.
Recently, two clients in the program died, which made hours available for others in the region in need of respite care. The program only serves two people in Kittson County.
The program, which serves those 55 and older, does not have set hours for each client.
“It’s really catered to what the client needs,” Sandwick said. “And that looks different for everyone.”
She said that some families have required 80 hours of care a week, while others call and request time once or twice a month.
“This is for that person who needs extra help or can’t be left alone for long periods of time,” she said.
Sandwick said the service is typically billed one of three ways. Many clients will have long-term care insurance or Medical Assistance, which Sandwick will usually bill directly. Sometimes, depending on the insurance, the client will pay the Northwest Live Well at Home program directly and submit paperwork to be reimbursed.
Sandwick said those on Medical Assistance can qualify for a waiver through the county social services department, which will pay for respite.
“It really depends on the situation and what you qualify for, and it depends on what other services they have,” she said. “If they already have someone cleaning for them, then they may need to decrease those hours so we can come in. That’s usually left up to the social worker.”
The third option is private pay, if the first two options are not available. Northwest charges between $19 and $24 per hour, with a three-hour minimum per visit, and bills the client or whoever is in charge of that client’s bills.
“We also have a donation fund and can sometimes help someone out who can’t pay,” she said.
Anyone interested in the respite program, or more information, can contact Sandwick by calling 218-528-3258 or email her at [email protected] An application form for respite services is also available at northwestlivewellathome.org. To donate to the program, you can also visit the website.
By Anna Jauhola