Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2015

Contact Sharon Johnson,, 402-471-1764 
              John Keenan,, 402-559-8329

WHAT: REST (Respite Education & Support Tools) Training      
WHEN: April 28-29, 2015
WHERE: UNMC/Munroe-Meyer Institute, Room 3016
444 South 44th Street
Omaha, NE

Give Back to Your Community as a REST
(Respite Education and Support Tools) Trainer

Those looking to learn or enhance skills to provide respite can attend an upcoming Respite Education and Support Tools (REST) training session, April 28-29, at UNMC/Munroe-Meyer Institute, Room 3016, 444 South 44th Street, Omaha.

Respite means providing short-term relief to primary caregivers from the demands of ongoing care for an individual with special needs. Ongoing care means continuous, full-time supervision/care for a person with special needs.

Those who complete the two-day interactive Train-the-Trainer program can then teach an eight-hour respite training class in their own communities. Settings can include churches, universities, community groups and other service or provider organizations that wish to create a local network of skilled respite care providers supported by the Nebraska Lifespan Respite Network.

“Training programs, like REST, strengthen communities,” said Sharon Johnson, respite program coordinator, Department of Health and Human Services – Children and Family Services. “Respite providers not only make a positive impact on family caregivers in need of a temporary break, but care recipients of any age or special need also benefit from the support. In Nebraska, respite is funded through a variety of programs. Families and advocates may call a Respite Network Coordinator in their area at 1-866-RESPITE (1-866-737-7483) for help with respite resources.  Respite information is also available at the DHHS supported website “Nebraska Resource and Referral System” at This free service will assist 24/7 in finding Network-approved respite providers and supportive services throughout Nebraska that best fit individual needs and location. Respite providers have the opportunity to connect one-on-one with care recipients in either their home environment or in a community activity, depending on the decisions of the family – an experience many call satisfying and life-changing.”

“The Munroe-Meyer Institute looks forward to partnering with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Respite Program to offer training opportunities for respite care providers,” said Wayne Stuberg, associate director of the Munroe-Meyer Institute. “There is a great need for respite services for caregivers, including many of our employees here at UNMC and Nebraska Medicine who are caring for children with special needs or parents who are aging.  Respite programs help to meet the needs of both those receiving the service and their caregivers.  It is our hope to promote the training to students in the health care professions as they already have significant knowledge of the special needs of many families.”

Respite – or short-term relief – for those caring for a family member or other loved one remains a crucial need. Today, more than 67 million individuals in the United States provide care for an elderly parent, spouse, or child with disabilities at least 20 hours per week, sometimes without support, according to Caregiver Action Network.

REST can be customized to reflect an organization’s vision and needs. In addition, all REST training materials are available in English as well as in Spanish for bilingual trainers.

This training is made possible in part by a federal IDEA Part C grant awarded to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services from the Nebraska Department of Education, Office of Special Education (99-9999-248-1C05-15) in collaboration with UNMC/Munroe Meyer Institute.

To register and for more information, visit:

For more information on REST, contact Lisa Esposito, REST administrative assistant, at 630-397-5656 or or visit