According to a recent AARP report, over 1 in 5 Americans today are caregivers. They may care for elderly loved ones or children with special needs. These caregivers spend an average of 24 hours each week on caregiving duties. Over time, stress from this added workload can start to build.
Many caregivers report dealing with stress and, in extreme cases, burnout. When you spend so much time focusing on your loved one’s needs, it’s easy to forget your own.
That’s where respite care comes in.
What is respite care, you may ask? Respite may be offered for patients receiving hospice services in their own home and is designed to give temporary support to primary caregivers. Whether you’re planning an afternoon off or a weekend business trip, respite care can give you a well-deserved helping hand.
Read below to find out everything you need to know about how this service may provide support to your family.
What is Respite Care?
The primary purpose of respite care is to provide support for a primary caregiver. While your loved one is on respite, trained clinical professionals take over your caretaking duties, allowing you to take care of other life responsibilities.
How long can respite care last? At EverHeart Hospice, patients may receive respite care for up to five consecutive days. Life happens. Sometimes you need to make a sudden business trip or travel to support another relative. This allows you to take the time you need while ensuring your loved one is receiving the care they need.
How to Qualify for Respite Care
You might think of respite care as a service only offered to elderly patients. However, individuals from all age groups may be eligible for respite care.
Respite care can be an option for home patients currently receiving hospice services. A respite stay can last up to 5 days and becomes available each benefit period.
At EverHeart Hospice, we work with many people during the end-of-life. This period is one of the most challenging times for any family.
The services offered at EverHeart Hospice are fully equipped to support you and your loved ones during this difficult period. Respite services are centered around compassion, consistency, and quality of care.
Why Respite Care is Important
If you are a primary caregiver for your loved one, you know firsthand what a challenge this role can be. According to the AARP report mentioned above, primary caregivers without support struggle the most. Fewer than 4 in 10 of these individuals report being in “excellent” or “very good” health.
Primary caregiving can take a huge toll on your physical and mental health.
Let’s consider some of the main challenges that caregivers can face.
Challenges of Caregiving
Some of the most challenging aspects of caregiving include:
- High intensity of daily workload
- A large number of hours worked per week
- Sense of isolation while providing care
- Emotional and physical strain
- The financial toll of caregiving duties
Many individuals who become primary caregivers didn’t have a choice. They simply had to step in and take care of their loved ones.
If your loved one is approaching the end-of-life, you might find yourself suddenly thrust into the role of primary caregiver. This sudden change in your life can be overwhelming. At the same time, you are dealing with the emotional reaction to this life development.
Being a primary caregiver is an admirable undertaking. Caregiving takes strength, patience, and perseverance. It is not an easy task, and the demands on your time can pile up quickly.
Taking Space for You
If you’re struggling with the burden of caretaking — you are not alone. Anyone in your situation would likely feel the same way. Struggling with these new tasks is a normal part of the process, and it doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job.
As a primary caretaker, it’s easy to forget to have compassion for yourself. You might deal with feelings of guilt if you’re not constantly there for your loved one. But taking a break now and then is crucial for your physical and mental well-being. If you don’t take time for yourself, you might find yourself overwhelmed by stress.
Stress can negatively affect your long-term health. If left unchecked, it can even lead to caregiver burnout. This condition affects many primary caretakers today. The good news? You can take action now to support your own physical and mental health throughout your caretaking journey.
Respite care services are designed to give primary caregivers the rest they need and deserve. When you take good care of yourself, you will be an even better caregiver for your loved one.
Additional Benefits of Respite Care
As a primary caregiver, you might worry about what will happen to your loved one when you’re away. The providers caring for your loved one are experienced and certified professionals. With respite care, you can have peace of mind spending time away without feeling guilt or worry.
If your loved one is reaching the end-of-life, you might also be considering a permanent placement at an assisted living or nursing facility. A respite stay prior to making this decision can help you and your loved one become familiar with these new surroundings, making the transition into long-term care easier for everyone.
During difficult times like these, it’s crucial to develop a strong support network. You might feel isolated when you are a full-time primary caregiver.
Respite care options give you the space and time you need to socialize free of worry. Spending time with a supportive community will help you handle the stress of your current situation.
When you are socially isolated, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only person dealing with a situation like this. But the reality is that 1 in 5 Americans serve as primary caregivers. You are not alone.
When you sign up for respite care services, why not take some time to connect with people in similar circumstances? You could even join a local support group in your neighborhood. We all go through difficult periods of life. But with the right support, getting through these periods becomes easier.
Just as you are compassionate towards your loved one, you deserve to receive compassion yourself. Respite care can give you the time and space you need to get the support you deserve.
Planning for a Respite Stay
Preparing for respite care can be difficult for you and your family. You might worry that your loved one won’t feel as comfortable without you.
Your loved ones might also feel like they don’t need respite support. It can be hard for anyone to accept this level of help.
The best way to handle this situation is to create a good plan and use open communication. Let’s go over this in more detail now.
Create a Plan with Your Family
Once you and your hospice provider have decided that a respite stay is an option for your loved one, you may want to gather your family together for a meeting. If they cannot come to the meeting in person, you could set up virtual meeting spaces as well. This will allow you to go over your support notes with the entire family, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
Your loved one might also want to be included in this planning phase. By keeping communication clear and open, you will make the transition to respite care smoother for everyone involved.
How to Pay for Respite Care
When you’re supporting a loved one during the end-of-life, money is the last thing you should have to worry about. That’s why EverHeart Hospice never turns anyone away due to an inability to pay.
Figuring out respite care payment can feel overwhelming at first. How do you qualify for respite care? Does Medicare cover respite care? You might find yourself asking these questions and more. Let’s take a look at the answers to many common payment concerns now.
Medicare and Medicaid Options
Individuals who are eligible for hospice services under their Medicare benefit are also eligible for respite care. People with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months or less qualify for hospice care.
For these individuals, Medicare will cover up to five days of respite care per benefit period in most cases. Check with your provider to determine specific plan details.
Medicaid requirements vary by state. You can check your loved one’s eligibility for such options on the Medicaid website.
Other Payment Options
If your loved one is a veteran, there are many payment options through your local VA.
Your loved one could also have long-term care insurance. This is a private insurance option that covers many costs that have to do with aging. Long-term care insurance coverage varies. Make sure to call your provider to check what options are available for your family.
Finally, you can cover your loved one’s respite care through private pay options. Many care centers also offer sliding scale options to meet your budget. No matter your financial situation, there are always options for covering respite care at the end-of-life.
EverHeart Hospice is Here to Help
Have you found yourself struggling with the stress of being a primary caretaker? Do you need caregiver support so you can take care of work or other duties? If so, respite care may be an option for those receiving hospice services.
At EverHeart Hospice, we work with every family to make the care process comfortable and full of compassion. Through the course of care, our patients and families become part of our EverHeart Hospice family.