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 caregiving. 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 allows everyone to emotionally recharge, physically refresh and better prepared to manage the day-to-day challenges of caregiving in the face of a chronic life-threatening illness.
At times, the patient could be admitted to an inpatient hospice facility, a nursing home or 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.