Respite care is available to the primary caregivers and family in need of rest from caring for the patient. There are several local nursing facilities, as well as private respite homes available for respite care. The patient is able to stay in one of the facilities or homes for up to five (5) days per episode, according to Medicare guidelines. Medicare covers respite care costs as part of the Hospice benefit. Ask your hospice team for more information regarding places that provide respite care.
Palliative care differs from curative care in that it is not intended to cure the disease. As a result, routine IV’s, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery would only be appropriate if the physician and the hospice staff determine these procedures in some way enhance the patient’s quality of life.
There may come a time during the course of your family member’s illness that you, as a caregiver, may need some time away from the day-to-day challenges of care-giving. Caregiver stress, or burnout, can lead to physical illness and emotional distress that can interfere with your ability to provide care to your loved one suffering from a terminal illness.
Respite care can be provided through an inpatient hospice unit, a hospice house, a nursing home, or an acute care hospital that has dedicated hospice beds.
What Is Respite Care For Hospice Caregivers?
The word “respite” means rest or relief. Respite care is a gift of time or “relief”, provided by hospice care professionals, volunteers and other family members, for the maximum of five days, to the primary caregivers of terminally ill patients.
Hospice respite care programs are designed to provide temporary, short-term assistance in caring for an individual who has a terminal illness. It is intended to allow the caregivers, often the spouse, children or family member, to take some time away from the patient, and even allow the patient some time away from the caregiver. This respite to allows everyone to emotionally recharge, physically refresh and better prepared to manage the day-to-day challenges of care-giving in the face of a chronic life-threatening illness.
At times, the patient could be admitted to an inpatient hospice facility, a nursing facility or a hospital, while the primary caregiver takes a break from providing care.
The family may wish to go on a vacation or the family may just need a few days so they can rest, recharge and get some much-needed uninterrupted sleep. Respite care is allowed up to five days.