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Fort HealthCare Caregiver Respite Program Available

Health, Wellness & You
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Reaching Out Respite program in Lake Mills has openings for new guests each week. Reaching Out is a collaborative effort between Fort HealthCare, area churches and local volunteers. The program’s purpose is to offer companionship and social activities for adults while providing up to six hours of respite for full-time caregivers.

Fort HealthCare’s Respite Nurse Coordinator, Maisie Allie, states, "Reaching Out Respite is offered once a week. Our guests benefit greatly from meeting new people and enjoying activities with our volunteers while their caregivers are offered some time for rest and renewal. Our program allows caregivers time to run errands, attend to personal matters, socialize, or just have time away to relax and refresh."

The Reaching Out Respite program was created to give caregivers of loved ones with life-limiting disabilities a period of rest once a week. Kay Wipperfurth, Vice President of Patient Services at Fort HealthCare states, “The respite program is an opportunity for a community to come together and support one another, and it is one of the most rewarding things accomplished through our hospital. To hear people that are responsible for care 24 hours a day talk about how important this program is to them is just amazing.”

Allie continues, “We are working to grow our program through the expansion of our board membership in the community with a commitment to keep this program thriving. For the program to be manageable, we do unfortunately have to limit the number of guests we can accommodate each week. We do have openings right now, however, in both communities we serve. I encourage caregivers to consider using our service, and anyone that is interested in volunteering can contact me.”

Caregivers can rest assured that their loved ones will be well cared for when using the respite program. A variety of social activities and exercises are provided for guests by a caring group of volunteers, and a trained nurse is on site each week to dispense medication and provide basic medical care, if required. There is a nominal charge for the lunch buffet that is prepared and served by volunteer staff, just to cover the cost of ingredients.

The Lake Mills location is open on Wednesdays at United Methodist Church, 217 East Prospect Street. Guests arrive around 9:30 a.m. and are picked up at 3:30 p.m. All interested parties are invited to contact Maisie Allie with Fort HealthCare for more information about volunteering, or arranging for respite. She can be reached at the Fort HealthCare Subacute Care Center at (920) 568-5200.