How it Works
Claude Moore Precious Time (Precious Time) matches JMU Nursing and Health and Human Service students with families who have children with special needs Children with special health care needs (CSHCN) are children who “have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally” (McPherson et al., 1998). /disabilities/special healthcare needs. The students provide the families a total of 14-20 hours of respite care over the course of the semester. Visits can occur either in family homes or outside the home. Families do not pay money to participate in the program; however, we ask that families educate the students by sharing their experience raising a child with special needs.
The goal is for both the families and the students to benefit:
- Caregivers A Caregiver can be a parent, legal guardian, grandparent, etc. who provides care for a child with special needs that is above what is typically needed by children. Caregivers not only have their typical role as parent, but must also provide for their child(ren)’s special health care needs, and as an advocate for those needs (Whitemore, 2017). benefit by receiving a temporary break from the responsibilities and stress of caring for a child with special needs.
- Children benefit by playing with and receiving individual attention from the students. Siblings are welcome to participate.
- Students benefit by gaining experience working with children with special needs (and their families), and learning about the challenges these families face.
Two students are matched with the family at the beginning of the semester, and during the semester, the pair of students provide 14-20 hours of respite care—the number of hours depends on the type of student participating.
- Fall Semester = September—December
- Spring Semester = January—April
Families and students work together to schedule the day, time, and location of visits, as well as how long each visit will last. Some families prefer to schedule visits lasting 2 hours, while other may prefer to schedule visits lasting 4 to 5 hours.
- Students are not allowed to give children medications. (In the event of a life-threatening allergic reaction, students are permitted to use an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) provided by the family)
- Students cannot transport family members: If the family would like to have a visit outside the home, the family must transport the children and meet the students.
- Special instructions: Some activities related to the child’s care, such as administering feedings to children with special feeding needs, require the caregivers to demonstrate the procedures and fill out a special instruction page, which the students will review with their professor before performing.
Precious Time receives generous funding from the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, which makes our program possible.