Real choices: A caregiver respite strategy for the state of Ohio

May 4, 2005


  • William Ciferri
  • Kathryn McGrew
  • Shahla Mehdizadeh
The purpose of Real Choices: A Caregiver Respite Strategy For The State of Ohio was to determine the feasibility of restructuring the PASSPORT program to achieve caregiver respite. We found the majority of PASSPORT consumers have at least one active caregiver. By sustaining caregiver activities and potentially keeping care at home, the cost difference between keeping the PASSPORT consumer enrolled in PASSPORT in comparison to the average cost of nursing facility care are significant. Any additional investment in Ohio’s respite strategy will save the state money in the future.

Based on our findings we propose a four component family-based respite strategy. The four components of the proposed PASSPORT respite strategy are: (1) Defacto Respite; (2) Defacto Respite Plus; (3) Institutionalize Respite Strategy; and (4) Real Choices. Defacto respite has already been incorporated into PASSPORT. The three additional components introduce a family-based approach to service plan development, flexibility, and consumer-direction culminating in “Real Choices”. As we see it, “Real Choices” is a modest, no-strings-attached cash benefit or voucher program that is grounded in a systematic assessment of the primary caregivers needs, similar to the flexibility built into the “supplemental services” part of the National Family Caregiver Support Program. Cash benefits to purchase goods and services will help offset the often higher cost of other services and/or for some enabling the caregiver to continue support of the care receiver.

This research was funded by the "Adult Respite Feasibility Study" Grant #11-P-92018/5-01 (CMS to Ohio Department of Aging) FY2003. Sharon Evanich, MBA, Project Manager, Ohio Department of Aging.

Full Report (PDF 237KB)


  • Families/Caregiving