What is Respite Care?

If you’re new to caring, you may be wondering: What is respite care?

Respite care provides a temporary break for a primary caregiver, allowing you to take a break from caregiving for a sick, ageing or disabled family member. It is a short-term care solution and allows the person you care for to be looked after by someone else.

There are many reasons why you would decide to take respite care. Caring for another person is a demanding and exhausting job that can often make you feel run-down.

You may consider respite care if you need some time to yourself, have a holiday booked, are ill and need time to recover or to give you extra time for other family commitments.

There are many different respite care options available, such as having a volunteer sit with the person you look after for a few hours, to a short term stay in a care home for a week so you can go on holiday.

This guide will explain what respite care is, the different types of respite care and how to arrange it.


What are the types of respite care?

There are a few different types of respite care, these are the mains ones:

Adult day care centres

Adult day care centres are designed for adults who have lost independence, are isolated, or are lonely. They provide social and daytime activities for entertainment and well-being. For example, day care centres often offer tea dances, singing, games and creative activities.

They usually run during the week and include meals and snacks throughout the day.

They are mostly run by councils and local charities. You can find more details by visiting your local council or charity websites.

Stay at a care home

If the person you care for would feel more comfortable away from home, you can arrange short term respite care at a care home. Most care homes allow you to make advanced bookings which helps you to plan for any future holidays or rest periods.

Short-term stays at care homes provide the person you look after with 24-hour care, and the chance to socialise with other residents. Knowing that the person you care for is in the hands of the professionals allows you to fully relax, as they will get the care they need.

In-home care

If you care for someone but need time for yourself because of other family commitment or for a rest, you can arrange for an in-home care service. This will help if you work part-time, need to study or take a holiday.

You can also arrange 24-hour supervision for the person you care for by arranging live-in care.

In-home services can be provided by volunteers, family or friends, paid help by trained staff, personal care providers, homemakers or skilled health care professionals, depending on the needs of the person you care for. In-home care can be arranged on either an occasional or regular basis.

Help from friends and family

You can also ask a trusted member friend or a member of your family to help while you take a much-needed break.

This mostly helps if the person you look after does not need specialist care and is comfortable providing the essential caregiving requirements. You must talk openly about what is needed and talk through any worries or concerns the friend or family member may have.

You can either arrange for your friend or family member to assist the person you care for at their home or they can invite the person you care for to stay with them while you take a break.


How to arrange respite care

If you have decided that respite care is needed to allow you to rest and have a break, you need to decide what type of respite care will be most suitable for you and the person you care for.

In some cases, you will need to be assessed to see if you are applicable for financial support to cover respite care. You can normally arrange an assessment from social services.

To be able to get a carers assessment, you can contact your local authority adult social care team. You are entitled to an assessment under the Care Act 2014. The assessment will establish what level of care is needed.

Even if you don’t require funding from your local council, an assessment will help determine what type of care will be most suitable.


The cost of respite care

The UK care guide states that the average cost for respite care is £700-£800 a week. It can be as much as £1,500 a week for care such as emergency care, live-in care or staying in a care home.

Your local council can help with funding respite care if you have the right level of assessment and are eligible for help. The amount of funding you are entitled to will be dependent on your own situation and the support you currently receive.

There are charities available to help as an alternative if you require a short-term break. They can provide you with a grant for those who need respite care but cannot afford it.

Or if you would rather fund the care yourself, then you can. You can raise money towards this from any income from pensions, work, investments, saving and benefits.


What does a respite carer do?

A respite carer will provide the same level of care that you do. These people are trained professionals and are highly qualified to look after and care for your relative.

As well as provide a safe and comfortable environment for the person you care for, they can also provide the following;

- Ensure that all medication is taken on time in the correct dosage.

- Keep their homes tidy and clean so that the environment is clean and safe.

- Assist with intimate washing and dressing, making sure the person you care for is comfortable.

- Arrange visits with friends and activities to do to keep them entertained.

- Provide more specialist nursing care to help with clinical needs.


The benefits of respite care

There are benefits for both you and the person you care for with respite care. It gives you the time to rest and have a break from the demands and responsibilities of caring for a person. This is not only good for your mental health but also allows you to meet and spend time with other people.

The same goes for the person you care for, it gives them a break from their usual surroundings and allows them to socialise with others, improving both their sense of well-being and gives you both the chance to re-energise.

If you would like to find out the types of respite care we provide, we have more information around our tailored package on our respite care page. If you require more information on what respite care is, please do not hesitate to contact us.