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What is respite care?

Peace of mind during breaks

If you are the primary carer for a loved one or anyone else, you’ll know how important it is to have regular breaks. Respite care is a service that can be put in place to allow you these breaks while still ensuring the person you’re caring for has their needs met.

Meeting the care needs of another person can be a full-time job and is incredibly demanding, both in the physical and mental sense.  As with any other job, it is vital that you take regular breaks away and holidays to remain refreshed and focused.

Just like the people you care for, you also need support to concentrate on your own health and wellbeing. The freedom respite care provides means that you can have a temporary rest while knowing that your loved one is continuing to receive care in a professional and safe environment.

What are the benefits of respite care?

Social inclusion

Carer and elderly lady laughing Not only does respite care allow your loved one to meet and interact with new people, it permits you to do so too. This is because while they are spending time with a new carer, you have the opportunity to go out and access your local community, engaging in the activities that you previously may have not had time for.

As a result of this elevated sense of inclusion, both of you will have an improved sense of wellbeing and happiness. Your loved one will also be able to gain confidence and maintain their sense of independence.

Renewed energy

A break can work wonders, reducing any risk of accidental neglect through heightened stress and exhaustion. To enable you to deliver effective support it is essential for you to have breaks in order to re-energise.

Taking time away can also help you to gain some perspective and think clearly. After taking a break you may start to see solutions to issues that had previously seemed impossible to overcome.

Support in emergencies

Emergencies always seem to happen at the most unfortunate times and can cause a range of issues, especially when you are responsible for the welfare of another person. If you need to focus on this emergency, it is incredibly important to be safe in the knowledge that your loved one is still receiving the care they need.

Prevents bad habits

When tired, people can slip into bad habits which in turn can result mistakes being made. There is a chance that these habits can mean that you unwillingly provide lower quality care than you would normally.

Though this is through no fault of your own, a little help from time-to-time allows you to continue providing the highest level of support.

What does a respite carer do?

Carer giving elderly lady medication

You may be anxious that a respite carer may not provide the same level of compassionate support as you do, but they are trained professionals who are qualified and competent in offering high-quality care.

Do I need respite care?

A respite carer can assist in the same areas you do, ensuring a continuity of care and comfort for your loved one. Some of these respite care services are:

  • Medication administration – ensuring all medication is taken in the correct dosage and at exact times
  • Household management – keeping their home clean will not only mean that your loved one is safe and comfortable, but also means that you are able to return to a tidy home after your break
  • Personal and continence care – with an empathetic approach, respite carers will be able to assist with intimate washing and dressing
  • Facilitating hobbies and interests – they can arrange visits to friends and family or help with engaging in favourite pastimes
  • Nursing care – specially trained carers will be able to help with clinical needs, such as catheter management and PEG feeding

Brian and Glenis’s respite experience

Glenis was the full-time carer for her husband, Brian, who had very limited mobility and was largely bed-bound. After supporting him for a number of years, Glenis found that she was becoming tired and was in need of a little break, a chance to recharge her batteries.

At first she was unsure and worried about the level of care her husband would receive but as soon as she saw the interaction between him and his carer, her mind was put at ease. As her husband was normally only accustomed to her companionship, Glenis was ecstatic to see her loved one ‘happy, laughing and enjoying male company’ with his carer.

Glenis has only heard glowing reports about Brian’s carer and has described the choice to venture into respite care to be the best decision she has ever made, no longer needing to worry about having a break and leaving her husband in the care of someone else. So much so, she is already planning her next trip away.

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We’re here seven days a week to talk through your home care needs and find the best option for you. Call 03300376958 or request a callback and we will call you.

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Page reviewed by Kathryn Mahon, Regional Clinical Lead on November 29, 2021