Free workshop on respite care offered Monday at HCMH

From Staff Reports

June 24, 2007 - A respite care workshop aimed at helping cancer survivors and their caregivers will be conducted Monday, June 25, in the first floor conference room at Hopkins County Memorial Hospital Plaza. 

The free workshop, hosted by Cancer Nutrition Network for Texans, is open to everyone, particularly those interested in additional information and ideas for including others needing respite care.

Dr. Billy Philips, a professor of preventive medicine and community health at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, will be the featured speaker. According to information provided by CNNT, Philips has been a caregiver and knows firsthand the personal difficulties experienced by people battling cancer, including the need for nutritional support and respite care. He is an expert in cancer prevention and control, and is well-published in the subject.

He is slated to give information on how to develop a respite care program, securing funds to support it, and implementing and evaluating the program. Philips will also provide materials for attendees.

Becke Anderson, family services consultant for Sulphur Springs Independent School District, encourages everyone with an interest in respite care or developing a respite care program to attend.

"I hope our community members will become well versed in respite care needed by various groups here, and that we can all work together to develop a program in our community," Anderson said.

She also noted that the program is of interest to SSISD as the special services department has for several years received requests from parents of disabled students for a respite care program. The program would also be beneficial to caretakers of hospice and cancer patients, as well as foster parents and others. 

"Last summer, I attended a workshop on this topic in Tyler, and was impressed with the outline for forming a respite care program that we might consider in Hopkins County," Anderson said.

One respite care program has been running in Sulphur Springs for several years. Terrific Tuesdays, which meets every Tuesday at First United Methodist Church, gives a little time off once a week to those people who care for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Similar programs could be a big help to those who care for cancer victims and the terminally ill.

"We are not trying to compete with other organizations," Anderson said. "We only hope to develop a new program in the community for people needing respite care. This should 'add to,' not 'take away from,' what other groups are trying to do."

Contact Anderson at 903-885-2218 to register or for more information on the respite care workshop. She may also be contacted by individuals "willing to provide input and/or help develop this program."

Cancer Nutrition Network for Texans is a statewide initiative of the University of Texas Medical Branch and the Texas Cancer Council, dedicated to helping meet the nutritional needs of cancer patients and their family care-givers. More information about CNNT or Dr. Philips may be obtained by calling 409-772-9136 or can be accessed online at www.utmb.edu/nsights

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