Kinship Health and Wellness Services
In every community, there are relatives who offer their homes, time, food, and other resources to grandchildren, nieces, nephews whose parents can no longer care for them. The Kinship Care Health and Wellness program works exclusively with Kinship Caregivers who routinely neglect their own health in favor of taking care of the children placed in their home.
An innovative aspect of our project is that we have a Health and Wellness Specialist (HWS) who conducts home visits with Kinship Caregivers throughout Hillsborough County. Some of the health issues addressed can include: obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental health conditions. Nearly all of the Kinship Caregivers are experiencing high levels of stress. The HWS assists where the Kinship Caregiver is experiencing significant distress that could result in adverse outcomes regarding their health or well-being and/or that of the placement. The next stop for many of these at-risk children is the dependency system.
Providing health coaching, information, education and linkage to appropriate services, as well as facilitating access to health care services will result in reducing healthcare disparities, improving access and quality, enabling better chronic disease outcomes, and will enable the caregivers to develop the tools and support they need to implement healthy behavior changes regarding nutrition, fitness, sleep hygiene, medication management. Once self-care improves, so does overall health and wellness. Caregivers have reported that because they practice better self-care, they are seeing better results during follow up with their doctors, which further encourages them to continue to take better care of themselves.
Funder: The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County through The Children's Home, Inc. http://www.childrensboard.org/ http://www.childrenshome.org/default.aspx