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Respite Care for Families of Children with Disabilities: A University/Faith Community Model

Bigham, Amy; Cunningham, Jill; Johnston, Kristen

doi: 10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000337
Feature: parish nursing

ABSTRACT: Families of children with disabilities or special healthcare needs report respite care as a great need, yet availability of such care is scarce. A partnership developed between a nursing school in the Southeast and a faith community, to provide respite care and summer camps, resulted in a win-win situation for families, children, interprofessional students and educators, the faith community, and volunteers. This article explains the need for respite, how schools of nursing and faith communities can partner, and the benefits to all stakeholders.

Amy Bigham, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, is an associate professor at the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, and a practicing family nurse practitioner. Amy has been an active participant in the respite care program since its inception.

Jill Cunningham, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, is an associate professor and department chair at the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. Jill has many years of experience with patients with developmental disabilities. She is the founder and director of the respite care program.

Kristen Johnston, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, is an assistant professor at the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. Her doctoral work addressed parental stress and respite care.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Accepted by peer-review 2/29/2016.

© 2017 by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship