What is Respite Care

Have you ever wondered who the caregivers are that are benefitting from respite care programs in your area? Conversely, have you stopped to think about the patients for whom they provide the kind of care that would normally be offered by medical personnel if no family member were available to take care of the affected patient.

Exploring the face of respite care does not paint a pretty picture, but it provides some much needed background that is sorely lacking in many of the discussions pertaining to governmental funding of respite care services and facilities.

    • Respite care takes over when a parent caregiver loses a job and the home is threatened with foreclosure or homelessness occurs. During the time period it takes the family to get back on its feet, the respite caregiver provides the lions share of the caring for the sick child so that the adults can focus on finding a new home, moving their personal belongings, finding a new job, and getting reestablished.

    • Emergency respite care is vital for patients of any age when abuse is suspected. A caregiver may have abused the patient or may have actually been subject to physical abuse by another family member. To allow the family caregiver to deal with the medical and psychological issues pertaining their own abuse, or to let authorities deal with the allegations of neglect or abuse against the caregiver, emergency respite care will take over the care of the patient who is caught in the crossfire.

    • Military deployment in spite of the application for a hardship discharge is oftentimes another cause for emergency respite care. While the application for a discharge may wind its way through the system, the caregiver may still have to report for duty and in the meantime someone needs to take over the care of the patient until all the paperwork is resolved.

    • Incarceration of a primary caregiver, disability of the individual, or a worsening of the patients symptoms or conditions also quite often require the services of an open ended respite care situation until another kinship care provider may be located.

    • The birth of a child to the caregiver also requires the assistance of a respite caregiver. At times this may also be an open ended care situation, especially when the newborn child has its own medical problems, or the family caregiver decides she is no longer able to continue with the care of the other individual. Until another caregiver may be located, respite care will fill in the time.

As you are exploring the face of respite care, it quickly becomes obvious that there is a plethora of reasons why such care is a vital component in todays healthcare setup. What is harder to understand, however, is the lack of funding and accessibility to caregivers that are found in the respite care system.

Many who are not only eligible to receive this kind of care but actually in desperate need of the assistance are unable to receive it while other programs that are by far less impactful on a large segment of the population do receive their funding.