MS Activist Bob Noe recently attended Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell announcement on the completion of a state plan for the SC Lifespan Respite Care Program. In announcing the plan, McConnell said there are an estimated 770,000 South Carolinians currently serving as unpaid family caregivers. The estimated annual economic value of this unpaid care to South Carolina is over $7.4 billion.
Developed by the State Advisory Committee of the SC Lifespan Respite System, the plan includes 19 recommendations to be phased in over the next 10 years. The recommendations cover a wide range of strategies focused on access to information about respite care resources, greater public awareness of the need for respite care, training for providers and better ways to connect them to people who need their services. At Year 10, the plan calls for a centralized toll-free number/clearinghouse for access to emergency resources for caregivers and care recipients.
Annually, the National MS Society ask MS Activists to urge their members of Congress to support the Lifespan Respite Care Program during the federal appropriation process to ensure that states like South Carolina can coordinate respite care services. The goal of the program is to improve access to quality respite services for all family caregivers across all ages and special needs.In his announcement, the Lt. Governor said he has asked the state legislature to include funding in the state budget for a voucher program to provide caregivers the break they deserve. SC Budget Conference Committee members are meeting this week to finalize the FY2014 budget that starts July 1, 2013.