top of page
  • Pam

What is Respite Care and When Might I Need It

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

Respite care is a form of temporary care that can be provided in a variety of settings, including the home, hospital, or nursing home some assisted living facilities or adult day care centers. If someone is on hospice there is also a respite benefit paid for within the hospice allowance.

If you're like most people, you probably haven't heard of respite care. But if you have an aging parent, it's something you may want to learn more about. Respite care can provide much-needed relief for caregivers, and it can also be a good option for seniors who need a little extra help. Here's what you need to know about respite care.

In this blog post, we'll explore the definition of respite care and some common scenarios in which it might be beneficial for adult children of aging parents. By the end of this post, you should have a better understanding of respite care and whether or not it's right for your family.

According to an article from GoodRx they share a statistic that there are over 53 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S. caring for family members. As an R.N. with many years of experience in home health and hospice I have seen first-hand how families struggle with the care giving responsibilities. It is truly a labor of love with a reward of knowing you are doing your best to meet the needs of someone you care very much about.

Often caregivers are elderly spouses, adult children of aging parents or aging parents of an adult special needs child. Sometimes you just need a break. You may have a family event you want to attend, a family function or a child’s sporting event that takes you out of town for a few days. Sometimes you are just burned out and feeling guilty that you need to take a break. You need a little “me time”. This is normal and you should not feel that you are letting your loved one down. You can’t give from a well that is dry. You need to refill your cup so you have more that you can give and pour out to others.

What is respite care and what does it entail? Respite care is a temporary substitute caregiver that provides caregiving services to a family member allowing the unpaid family caregivers to have a break from their caregiving duties. It can be used to provide relief for caregivers who are caring for someone with a chronic illness or disability. Respite care can also be used to provide a break for caregivers who are experiencing stress or fatigue. Respite care may be needed for emergency care when you are suddenly pulled in another direction.

Who can benefit from respite care services and for how long a period of time? Again, respite is meant to be temporary. Normally respite is 1-2 weeks. If your loved one is in hospice you can get 5 days of respite covered about every 2 months or for every billing period. This respite is a covered cost by hospice. Most companies providing a form of respite may have a minimum and or a maximum number of days they will provide Respite.

There are many different types of respite care available, so it's important to find the right type for your needs.

Are there any costs associated with respite care services that I should be aware of upfront or down the road?"

If your loved one is not enrolled in hospice, respite care most often will be a private pay situation. There are some other options to try and cut down the cost of paying for respite. One program “Share the Care” is a self-instructed program intended to bring friends, family, and community resources together to provide care for your loved one. A patient advocate can possibly assist you in setting up this program. Our patient advocate business “Your Nurse Advocate Consulting” has experience in setting up this type of care if you decided you would want assistance going this route.

Another cost-effective way to get some respite hours is to possibly trade services. You could possibly get someone to assist you during the day if you could say, swap services for night coverage.

Adult Day Care: For 5 Days per week similar to a child day care the cost could run about $1500.00 per week depending on the needs and whether or not your loved one has a form of dementia. If your loved one has qualified for Medicaid, you can possibly get financial assistance with paying for Adult Day Care. This type of care could help for a working family or for families that need some time to themselves to address their own children’s needs etc. This option would not work if you were leaving for any extended period of time.

The remaining options would be private pay unless some form of Medicaid assistance was available. If you have not determined if your family member is qualified for your state’s Medicaid program a call to the Senior Center or Aging and Disability Resource Center can assist you with the application process. As we develop our directory, we will also list professionals that assist with Medicaid applications and Advanced Life Planning.

Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, Hospitals, Home Care and Personal Care Agencies and Private Respite Caregivers are all paid options to getting some relief of care into your home. The least expensive option may be the private caregiver option but we encourage you to check out our blog post on Hiring a Private Caregiver, before choosing this option.

Our goal will be to have vetted resources in our directory for you. If you need to check out resources on your own, all facilities such as home care agencies and nursing homes that accept Medicare payments, can be found on Medicare Compare where you can check out their rating scores and see if they have had any negative surveys or issues with their facility.

Ask around before you choose. Most clinics, social workers, Senior Resource Center, etc. are not allowed to give you recommendations on what facility or agency to choose. They can only give you a list of resources in the category you are searching for. Reach out to friends and family or church members to ask about what places have given good services and who they may trust with their loved ones. Ask what good experiences they have had with Nursing Homes, Assisted Living facilities, or Home Care and Personal Care agencies.

Two suggestions to find out where you can access respite in your area. In our P.A.M. Patient Advocate Directory, as we gain more and more resources it is our goal to have respite resources available.

1. Contact your local Senior Center or Aging and Disability Resource Center and ask for a list of Respite Care Providers.

2. Ask to speak to your Social Worker that is affiliated with your hospital or clinic and ask the same question. One of these 2 resources should be able to provide you with respite care choices.

What are some things to keep in mind when considering whether or not to use respite care services for a loved one?

We have created a checklist for you to help you determine what type of respite care you need based on your personal situation.

How has using respite care services helped my loved ones and me personally?"

Thanks for sticking with us through this post on respite care. We hope you’ve found it helpful and informative. Now that you know all there is to know about respite care, how can you get started? The best way to start is by subscribing to our email list. We will include a checklist on "How Do I Know When My Aging Parent or Spouse May Need Help in the Home. That way, you’ll be the first to know when our next blog post goes live – and trust us, you won’t want to miss it. In the meantime, if you have any questions or need help finding a caregiving resource in your area, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help!

Take care and we'll talk soon,

Pam and Linda


Download PDF • 661KB

5 views0 comments
bottom of page