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Respite care is a form of temporary support where your usual carer takes a well-earned break from their responsibilities while a temporary carer steps in, often for a few weeks. Through respite care at home, you’ll be looked after on a short-term basis within your own home by respite carers.
Here, we’ve explained exactly what respite care at home is and how it works, along with the different types of support available, what it costs, the benefits and how to arrange it.
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Through respite care at home, you’ll be looked after in your own home for a short period (often a couple of weeks).
Respite home care is usually needed when somebody requires support while they recover from an illness or injury (similar to that of a convalescent care home), or while their main carer takes a break from their care responsibilities for a short-amount of time.
Often, a respite carer will look after you for several hours a day while your main carer recuperates and recharges. In some cases, a respite carer will temporarily move in with you (this is known as live-in care).
Respite home care agencies are usually regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England, and their carers are trained to provide several types of care, including residential care, dementia care and nursing care.
The main goal of a respite carer is to seamlessly continue the care provided by your permanent carer (if you have one). Independence in care is encouraged, as a respite carer often won’t do everything for you, but will instead look to support you in whichever areas are needed.
Here are a respite home carer’s most common roles and responsibilities:
There are two main types of respite home care. The right option for you or your loved one depends on individual needs and circumstances.
A home carer will visit you at various times throughout the week. This option is popular as it’s fully customisable. Some people will only need a few hours of support a week, whereas other people will require multiple visits each day.
Visiting respite care is for people with lesser care needs.
Through live-in care, a carer will temporarily move in with you, meaning care and support will be available 24/7.
There may be a team of care workers, such as one main carer who will look after you during the day, and a second carer to look after you at night while your main carer sleeps.
Live-in respite care is for people with much greater care needs.
Respite home care costs vary, depending on the type of care you need and where you live in the UK.
Our figures (based on the home care providers we're partnered with) show that the average costs of home care in the UK are:
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We’re partnered with the best home care agencies across the UK, many of which offer short-term respite care, including in the following locations:
If you directly arrange home care through a well-respected provider, this could be organised in as little as a day or two. Arranging home care through your local council could take slightly longer (a week or more), particularly if a care needs assessment and a financial assessment are first required.
The length of respite care at home lasts depends on your or your loved one’s individual circumstances. It could be just a few days, or a month or longer. Usually, home care that lasts more than five weeks becomes classed as ongoing care, and ongoing care that lasts more than eight weeks becomes classed as live-in care.
In most cases, you’ll continue to receive Carer’s Allowance for up to four weeks within any six-month period where you’ve taken a break from caring. You may have taken this break while your loved one receives temporary respite care.
However, these rules can be complicated, which is why we’d recommend seeking specialist advice from the Carer’s Allowance Unit if you’re unsure.