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What Is Respite Care?
Respite care is short-term care given to a hospice patient by another caregiver, so that a family member or friend who is the patient's caregiver can rest or take time off. This type of care was created to allow caregivers time away from administering care, with the goal to help the caregivers have lower stress and at the same time fill the needs of the individual receiving care. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, respite care comes from Medicare-approved facilities, like a hospital, nursing home, or hospice inpatient facility
What Respite Care Does Medicare Cover?
Respite care is covered in the same manner as hospice care; it includes medical supplies and medical care under a short-term stay at a facility. There are specific respite care facilities that serve persons receiving hospice care at home. The provisions of care that are normally paid for do not change for respite care. This means that the prescription and medical coverage stay the same. As in hospice care, respite care provided through Medicare does not include room and board for the individual's home or non-prescribed treatments, but it does cover a certain amount of the respite care stay. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the person receiving respite care may be responsible for 5% of the Medicare-approved amount for respite care. For example, if Medicare pays $100 per day for inpatient respite care, you will pay $5 per day. Each time a person receives respite care, Medicare covers up to five days. There is no limit to the number of times that a person can receive respite care. The amount that you will pay for respite care can change each year.
Can I Get Respite Care for Any Person Who Needs Continuous Live-In Care?
Medicare does not pay for respite care for the caregiver unless the patient is in hospice. However, other help may be available. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for possible respite care sources in your area. You can also contact Senior Services and Social Services. Senior volunteer services and private nonprofit agencies are the common providers of home-based respite care programs. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services Eldercare Locator Services helps place caregivers with agencies and services in their area. Their telephone number is (800) 677-1116.
Types of Respite Care Programs
There are several different types of respite care programs.
In-Home Respite Care
In-home respite care is temporary care provided in the person's home. This allows the family and patient to be comfortable and saves them from having to adjust to a new environment. Local Senior Services will have a list of approved caregivers who provide in-home respite care. Home-based respite care programs are provided through a nursing agency; you can find these in the telephone book or by contacting Senior Services and Social Services. Senior volunteer services and private nonprofit agencies are the common providers of home-based respite care programs.
Out-of-Home Respite Care
Out-of-home respite care programs provide the opportunity for the family or caregivers to leave the person needing care at a facility, such as an assisted living center, nursing home, or hospital, depending on the level of care needed. It is important to remember that the person requiring care will have to be transported, and special medical equipment may also have to be moved. Contact Senior Services and ambulatory services to find out about special transportation needs, such as a wheelchair van. Residential facilities are most common for this type of respite program. Senior day-care facilities may be available in the area, but these are not as common or as available. You will want to find out the caregiver-to-patient ratio as well as the facility's licenses and bonds. Senior foster care homes may also be available; these are generally an individual's home that cares for seniors and disabled persons. Hospital-based respite care is also available depending on the local hospital's programs. Contact the hospital in your area to find out if they offer respite care.
The United Cerebral Palsy of America, a program that partners families and caregivers with respite agencies, and participating hotels. This allows for the respite care program to provide respite care for the individual and the hotels provide comfort and time away for the family. You can contact the United Cerebral Palsy of America foundation at (800) 872-5827 to discover participating agencies and hotels in your area.
How To Choose Respite Care for the Disabled?
The following offers a guideline of questions to ask when seeking respite care for a disabled person:
- What types of special services are needed to provide care for the individual?
- Does the patient/family prefer in-home or facility care?
- What is the cost of care at the facility (or by the individual caregiver)?
- What type of training does the respite care provider have?
- Is the respite care provider/facility receptive to receiving specific instructions written or verbal?
- Is the person/facility that provides care licensed and bonded for Medicare and other health insurance coverage?
- What is the caregiver-to-patient ratio?
- How can the person/facility provide care for special needs (medication, diabetes, physical requirements)?
- Does the person/facility have experience providing the type of care necessary?
- What activities/entertainment can the person/facility provide?