End-of-life patients who receive hospice services may be eligible for respite care. Under hospice respite care, terminally-ill loved ones can be temporarily relocated to a professional care facility, such as a hospital or nursing home, while the caregiver receives rest and time away from caregiving duties. Caring for a loved one day-in and day-out can be physically and emotionally draining. Hospice respite care offers families and caregivers the opportunity for short-term relief. In the meantime, your loved one is being well-cared for by certified and experienced hospice and palliative care providers.
What is Respite Care?
Respite care is designed to give caregivers a much-needed break from certain responsibilities. Some caregivers choose to use their respite to rest at home or go out of town. Others take the temporary relief to go on a work trip or vacation with family or friends. While the caregiver is away, the loved one is cared for by hospice professionals. These professionals will help the patient with all aspects of care, including hygiene maintenance, proper nutrition, socialization, and medical needs. Due to the importance of hospice respite care, most insurances (including Medicare) cover respites for a certain amount of time throughout the year.
Why is Respite Care Important?
Caregivers often feel hesitant or guilty about leaving their terminally-ill loved one in the care of someone else. They often think that they are responsible for providing care and are the only ones who know the person’s medication schedule, toileting patterns, food preferences, and overall personality. Some caregivers view going on respite as a selfish act, when in reality, it can be highly beneficial for all involved. It is important for caregivers to understand the benefits of hospice respite care and how it can be used to refresh the body and mind.
When caregiving duties are administered consistently without breaks or relief, there can be detrimental consequences. In addition to growing feelings of frustration and irritation, caregivers may start to make errors that affect the health or wellbeing of their loved one. Even attentive caregivers can forget a dose of an important medication, fail to change soiled bed linens, or miss a night call for toileting. These types of mistakes may become more frequent the longer caregiving duties are given without a break. A brief time away can help restore a caregiver’s energy and attentiveness.
How Can I Make the Transition Easier?
It can be tough leaving your ill loved one in the care of a stranger. You may think that your loved one will be upset with you or carry a grudge. However, this is usually not the case. Although your loved one may not be happy that you are taking a break, the person will likely come to understand why you needed to go away. Most patients under hospice respite care will grow comfortable with the idea of you being away, as long as their needs are met. This means leaving your loved one in a clean, safe environment staffed with professionals who will offer attentive and compassionate care.
There are a number of things you can do to help your loved one better transition into respite care. Start by writing a schedule of the patient’s daily patterns and activities. Be sure to include information about medications, food preferences, and habits that may make the person happy and comfortable. Maybe your loved one likes to have a bowl of vanilla yogurt in the afternoons, or perhaps he likes to watch his favorite TV show at noon each day. By providing personal information, you can help ensure that your loved one remains in good spirits during your absence.
Where to Find Respite Care?
It is common for caregivers to feel bad about the relief they feel from hospice respite care. After all, patients in hospice care do not have the opportunity to take a break from their illness. However, it is important to consider how your wellbeing affects your loved one. You will usually find that you are better equipped to provide your caregiving duties when you are feeling renewed and refreshed. Hospice respite care allows caregivers the chance to fully recharge so that they can be the attentive caregiver they want to be.
If you need time to rest and recuperate, consider hospice respite care. While it is not always easy, it is important for caregivers of patients in hospice care to accept a break. Fortunately, hospice services include professional respite care administered by trained professionals that you can trust to care for your ill loved one. You can rest easy knowing that your loved one is in good hands and receiving the same level of care that you would provide. To learn more about the benefits of respite care, contact Harbor Light Hospice for a free, comprehensive, and confidential consultation.