Respite care services are designed to offer primary caregivers a short-term break from their care duties. It can also provide support to a person who needs it on a temporary basis, for example following surgery or while recovering from illness or injury.
Respite care services can help to ease the burden of being a primary caregiver, and help that person maintain balance in their life. It might just be for a few hours at a time or for a couple of weeks, for example to allow a carer to take a holiday. Depending on the situation and the type of respite care, it could last for longer – sometimes up to eight weeks.
Respite care can be pre-planned; at other times it is on an emergency basis. Whatever the situation, it allows caregivers to take a break, or to temporarily switch their focus to another aspect of their life. They remain safe in the knowledge their loved one is being well looked after.
Types of respite care available include:
Domiciliary care at home
Respite care at home could be for a set number of hours per day or week, or on a 24-hour basis, depending on the level of care required.
It allows for a more personalised service, with a routine more consistent to what the person in need of support is used to. Respite care might involve helping with day-to-day activities such as cooking and cleaning, or running errands.
Short-term care home stays
For those who require round-the-clock care, a short-term stay in a residential home could be the best fit. This is especially true in instances where respite care is required for weeks as opposed to days.
Day care centres
Day care centres can help primary caregivers achieve more balance in their lives. It can also prove useful if a situation arises that means they need to take a break from day-to-day care. Centres provide activities and social interaction, and can often be a welcome change of environment for people.
Postoperative respite care
Sometimes known as convalescent care, this can take the form of domiciliary care or a short-term stay in a care facility. Often in these cases, emphasis is put on helping the person regain independence and ability as part of their recovery.