Caring for a loved one with a life-limiting illness can be a stressful and demanding experience. Your loved one may require frequent care in the form of medication, support, or help with daily activities like eating and toileting, while watching their decline can bring on additional stress. It is no wonder that caregivers often feel tired, anxious, and depressed. If your loved one is receiving hospice services, know that they are also eligible for respite care, which allows caregivers to take a break from their duties while their loved one is cared for in an inpatient facility. Read more about this unique type of care and its benefits below.
What is Respite Care?
Traditional hospice care provides daily and continuous support to people who are terminally ill, providing their caregivers with time to recharge and relax. Respite care is short-term inpatient support for family caregivers who become ill, need to attend a family event, or simply feel exhausted and need some time off. Your loved one’s normal hospice team will work with staff at the hospital, inpatient unit, or nursing home at which your loved one is staying to ensure they are cared for. Medicare benefits will cover five days at a time at one of these locations for your loved one’s respite care. Many caregivers take advantage of respite care to spend time with friends, run errands, participate in hobbies, or relax.
Patient Benefits of Respite Care
You and your loved one can benefit from respite care in several ways. If you are feeling exhausted and overworked, you may not be providing the type of care you would like to provide for your loved one. A professional and well-rested team of hospice care workers can help ensure that your loved one is receiving the best care possible at all times, while giving you the space you need to rest and recharge.
Respite care can also give your loved one some much-needed social interaction. Hospice patients may rarely leave their homes once they enter hospice, which can lead to feelings of isolation and even depression. By briefly moving to a new location or receiving visits from a variety of care team members, your loved one will have the chance to interact with a wider variety of people. Some inpatient facilities offer various classes and activities, which can introduce your loved one to new hobbies or amusements that they may enjoy incorporating into their routines after returning home.
Finally, respite care provides a sense of continuity to your loved one. It ensures that there are no breaks in the type of care they are receiving, as their normal hospice care team will continue to implement their care plan while they are staying in an inpatient care facility. This regularity will not only make sure that your loved one continues to receive the right kind of care, it will also minimize their anxiety or uncertainty while you are unable to care for them.
Caregiver Benefits of Respite Care
Caregivers experience significant benefits from respite care. Because caring for a loved one can be an emotionally and physically exhausting experience, it can be helpful to take a few days off to rest and recharge when necessary. While your loved one is being cared for by caring and professional staff, you can spend time with friends, enjoy your hobbies and other relaxing activities, and do whatever else you need to feel energized again. This can improve your outlook and allow you to provide better care for your loved one.
Respite care can also be helpful in allowing caregivers to attend to other pressing concerns. While caring for a loved one is a major priority, other tasks like work, family events, and daily chores may also need attention. Respite care can give caregivers more time completing these tasks so that they are able to focus on caregiving when and where it counts. It allows them to maintain their own lifestyle while ensuring their loved one receives the support they need.
In addition to these benefits, respite care may provide caregivers with more information about how to best care for their loved ones. While medical professionals and volunteers are visiting, they may notice opportunities for improved care or changes in your loved one’s condition that you may not have recognized, helping you make your loved one more comfortable.
Acquiring Respite Hospice Care
Speak to Harbor Light Hospice for more information about respite hospice care. Harbor Light provides individualized care plans designed to address your loved one’s physical, mental, and spiritual needs as they near the end of their life. Plans are implemented by a team of hospice specialists, including doctors, nurses, therapists, and volunteers, who work in collaboration with your family to make your loved one as comfortable as possible throughout the duration of their illness.