How to Choose Respite Care

Two Methods:Facility CareIn-Home Care

Respite care is a term used to describe help given to caretakers of those who are disabled or ill. In many countries, the term for this type of care is "short break." In the United States alone, there are more than 50 million households caring for family members who are chronically ill, disabled or elderly. In-home care can be exhausting for the family, but placing the patient in long-term healthcare facilities can be expensive. Respite care offers an alternative to these options. There are several choices available when it comes to respite care, and several factors you can consider before you choose an option. The main consideration will be whether to choose a facility or in-home care.

Method 1
Facility Care

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    Consider the benefits of a facility. Specialized facilities with trained and licensed medical personnel can provide the patient with any daily or emergent healthcare. They may also have activities for patients who are ambulatory, or disabled but moderately active. Many facilities also offer options of short-term care - anywhere from a few weeks to months.
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    Ask questions about the facility.
    • Inquire as to whether the respite care facility is equipped to handle the patient's particular disability or ailment.
    • Discuss the ratio of caregivers to patients.
    • Check on the caregivers within the facility. Inquire as to their licensure, and whether they are certified for emergency care. Ask if the staff is screened for drugs and criminal background checks.
    • Ensure that the facility is state certified to provide the care.
    • Find out what is included in the price of the stay. Ask whether it includes meals, medication and transportation.
    • Inquire as to whether the facility accepts insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.

Method 2
In-Home Care

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    Consider the benefits of in-home respite care. The patient may be most comfortable at home in his own surroundings. You may have all the proper medical equipment already available at home. You will be able to monitor the patient's situation if need be, even though a care provider will be on hand.
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    Ask questions about the in-home caregiver.
    • Decide what level of caregiver you need. If the patient is chronically ill, you may need a registered nurse in the home to monitor any medical care. If the patient is disabled, you may only need someone who has caregiver experience.
    • Find out what the caregiver's background is. Ask for all certifications, prior experience and references.
    • Find out if the cost of an in-home caregiver is covered by the patient's insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.


  • There are a variety of options when it comes to respite care. In addition to facility care or hired in-home caregivers, many community programs provide patient day care or companion care. Churches and other organizations offer these services. Remember to ask the same questions about the background of your caregiver.
  • Prepare a document detailing the needs of the patient. Give the documentation to the respite care providers to help them identify needs particular to the patient. This could include all medical information, dietary needs, physical activities or even likes and dislikes.

Article Info

Categories: Aged Care