Respite services help sustain the health and well being of the caregiver and care recipient, helps avoid or delay out of home placements, and reduces the likelihood of abuse and neglect. As a caregiver it is very important that you maintain your own health, and take frequent breaks before you become overwhelmed and burn-out. Respite re-energizes you and allows you to continue caring for your loved one. Regular relive can become a lifesaver. The information in the following sections can help you plan your respite and determine which type of provider will best meet your needs.
Planning your relief
Planning for your respite can add a sense of security and relieve anxiety. You want to analyze, assess, and identify requirements and needs to help you find the right match and make the experience a pleasant and beneficial one. Below you will find information to consider when you are getting ready for respite.
Things to Think About:
• How many hours of respite will be needed? Do you need it for a 2 hour appointment in the middle of the day? Or do you need it for an entire day? Overnight? Longer? How often do I need it?
The length of time you will need respite services can help you to decide what type of respite care is needed and what kind of skills and/or training the person will need to have in order to care for your loved one safely.
For example, if your loved one requires medication injections during the respite you may need to hire a person who has been trained to give those injections. If the injections are only at night and the respite occurs midday you may not need a person with that training. If they will be feeding your loved one, do they have that type of training? And so on. It comes down to thinking of what your loved will need during the time of respite, and what the person caring for your loved will need to be able to do to care for them adequately.
Key Questions: How long will the respite last? What does the person need to do or know to care for my loved one? Do they require assistance with walking, eating, mental stimulation, medications, etc…during the respite?
• What is important for the persons providing respite to know about my loved one in order to care for them?
It is important that you assess the needs, abilities, and preferences of your loved one as well as your own. We strongly encourage you to write down the things that are important for your loved one and make schedules if needed. What kind of food they like or don’t like. Things that may upset them, allergies to medication, phone numbers of people they may need to contact during the respite. There is a tool available in the Caregiver Handbook (link) that can help with this process. By having instructions on paper the provider will not have to rely on just memory if difficulties, questions, or emergencies come up.
Key Questions: What is important to my loved one in a caregiver? What information do I need to share with the person providing respite in order for my loved one to be safe and for me to feel comfortable leaving them with someone?
• You also want to consider the location that the respite will take place. There are many options, and what you decide should be based on your preferences. If you are considering respite out of the home there are a few things to think about…
Key Questions: How will my loved one be transported? Will they easily adjust to new environments and/or new people? Will you, the caregiver, be comfortable knowing that your loved one will be out of the home?
Models of Respite
There are many types of respite that are available both in the home and out. It will be up to you to decide which best fits the needs and preferences of your loved one and yourself. Below are a few models of respite to consider.
In-home respite is provided in the home. Many families prefer this type of respite because of its many advantages including: home is already equipped for the recipient’s special needs, lower costs, no transportation required, etc…
Examples of who can provide in-home respite:
- Family , friends, and neighbors
Your family, friends, and neighbors can provide respite for you! They are a great source of affordable and easily accessible respite.
- Homemaker services
Private homemaker services offer support with meal preparation, shopping, and light housekeeping. So while you are away these are the types of services you can expect rendered.
- Volunteer or paid companionship
There are faith-based organizations and non-profit organizations that train and can assist with connecting you to a volunteer respite provider. Paid companions are usually trained staff that can assist with short-term breaks.
- Personal care or home health agencies
Personal care agencies can assist your loved one with daily living skills such as bathing, feeding and toileting. Home health agencies are able to address more specialized medical needs if your loved one requires it.
Out-of-home respite is also appealing to many families as it can bring new opportunities for the care recipients. Being outside of their natural environment can provide emotional and cognitive stimulation for the recipient, and gives them a chance to socialize and get out. Families can also benefit from this type of respite as they are free to enjoy time in their home without the constraints of providing constant care.
- Day Care Centers
These centers are usually designed for older adults who can no longer manage independently. Many of these centers have planned enriching activities for your loved one to promote well-being in a safe environment. Day care centers tend to typically operate during daytime hours, Monday through Friday. However, there are centers that are available for the weekends and holidays. They also assist with providing nutritious meals and snacks that accommodate special diets.
- Residential respite care
There are a number of different organizations that fall into this category including: group homes, hospitals, nursing homes, and other specialized facilities. Many of them are equipped to provide emergency and planned overnight services.
- Community Centers, Senior Centers and Camps
Community centers, senior centers and camps are a great source of respite for all ages. Meanwhile you get a break, run errands or grocery shop; your loved one is engaged in educational and fun activities.
Respite funding opportunities may be available to families through:
- Social Service Agencies (nonprofit organizations)
- Veterans Administration
- Private Insurance
Connect with your local Resource Center to learn more about Caregiver Support programs in your area!
Please be aware that at this time Nevada does not require individuals to be licensed to provide respite care, so it is very important that you conduct a thorough background check when dealing with individuals who are not associated with companies or agencies. Here are a few tips to consider when hiring an individual respite provider:
1. Actual face-to-face interview and/or telephone screening
2. Ask for references and check them
3. Conduct a background check- visit the link below for instructions and forms on how to do it http://nvrepository.state.nv.us/Criminal/forms/DPS-006%20Form.pdf
4. Consider costs and financing for using that particular provider
5. Write a contract that provides specific details
6. Trust your “gut” feeling
We cannot stress enough to get to know the prospective provider as well as possible before committing to anything.
Although it may cost more to go through an agency, it may be easier. They will handle payroll, provider absenteeism, and complaints. It is just a matter of choice and preference.