Caring for someone can be very demanding and sometimes you may feel that you need a break. This could be just for a short time in order to get some sleep, enjoy a hobby, or meet a friend. Or you may benefit from a longer break to rest and recuperate. This is referred to as respite care or a short break.
Various respite/short break services are available across Derbyshire.
Respite care or a short break is designed to replace the care that you, as a carer, would normally be giving the person you care for so you can take some time off from your caring role.
A person can be cared for in a care home run by Derbyshire County Council, the voluntary sector or a private home.
Alternatively, care can be provided in a person’s own home while the carer has a break outside the home.
Planned periods of respite care provide you with a break from your caring role and can be arranged to co-incide with a pre-booked holiday.
Respite care may also available in an emergency, subject to assessment.
Accessing respite services
To get respite care the person you are looking after would need to get an assessment from Derbyshire Adult Care to see if they met the eligibility criteria for care and support services. If the person already receives services from Adult Care, you would need to speak to their Adult Care worker.
If a service is provided to the cared for person, in order to benefit the carer, the carer cannot be charged for this. However, as respite and short break services are provided to the cared-for person, the cared-for person may have to contribute towards the cost of the care, dependent on their financial circumstances. The Paying for Residential care leaflet has further information about this.
Please contact Call Derbyshire on tel: 01629 533190 for further information.
If the person you support does not have eligible care and support needs, you may be able to use a carer personal budget to access services to give you a break from your caring role.
Respite in an emergency
If you need to access respite/short breaks services because of an emergency or crisis situation, please contact Call Derbyshire on tel: 01629 533190 who will be able to advise you. It may be possible to get replacement care in the home if you are unable to look after the person you care for.
Buying respite care privately
If you wish to privately pay for replacement care for the person you care for, the charges will depend on the provider. You can use the NHS service finder to find a suitable service in your area. NHS Choices has the facility to leave a review for providers - so you will be able to see what other people thought that the services you are looking at.
The Derbyshire County Council Adult Care Brokerage Service will be able to help you find service in your area and tell you which ones have availability. You can contact the service on tel: 01629 537763.
The Brokerage Service publishes a list of 'available beds' in the county which allows you to see which Derbyshire care homes have respite beds. The list is updated every Tuesday and includes both independent and Council owned homes.
Respite for people with a learning disability
Derbyshire County Council run six short break and life skills centres around Derbyshire for people with a learning disability to enjoy a short break. There are also many private respite centres around the county. The Derbyshire County Council Brokerage Services will be able to help you find services on tel: 01629 537763.
As well as being an opportunity for the person with a learning disability, short breaks give their family carers the chance to take a break from their caring responsibilities.
The centres offer personal care and support as well as activities such as arts and crafts. The centres also help people learn skills such as cooking, cleaning, paying bills, making their bed, doing washing and laundry.
Adults with learning disabilities may also be able to access short breaks in a home setting through the Shared Lives Scheme.
Preparing for respite
As a carer you may be reluctant to leave the person you care for in the hands of someone else. You may feel guilty for leaving them but it is important that you have a break if you need one.
Talk to other carers and people who've used respite services and ask them about their experiences and how they dealt with the emotional side of things.
If the person you care for is planning a short break in a residential care home, you should be able to visit the service so that you can see what it is like, make sure that you are happy with it and reassure yourself that they will be able to properly care for the person you look after. You can talk to staff and, if appropriate, residents and their families.
Good preparation will help you relax and have peace of mind to make the most of your break:
- Make sure that the alternative care provider has all the information they need to care for the person you are looking after. This could be what they like to eat, when they sleep and more complex information about the medicines they need to take.
- Leave a list of contacts: GP, medical/social care professionals involved in the care of the person you are looking after, family members and friends, and your own number, in case of emergencies.
- If you have an emergency plan (which sets out what should be done in an emergency) then make sure you go through the details of this with the people who will be providing alternative care.
- Make sure the person you care for has things to make them feel comfortable away from home. For example you could send them with their favourite pillow or blanket. If they like a particular brand of tea, send some tea bags in their luggage. Small things can help the person feel more comfortable.
Other helpful websites
- Alzheimer's Association - respite care guide (useful tips for everyone considering using respite services)
- Marie Curie - respite care
- NHS website - carers breaks and respite
- Carers UK - taking a break and respite services
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