Hospice Respite Care
What is Respite Care?
The intent of respite care is to provide support and relief to family or unpaid caregivers. The job of being a caregiver can certainly be rewarding, but it can also be mentally and physically demanding. Caregivers are often responsible for meals, medication, transportation and/or scheduling of medical appointments, emotional support, and more, often requiring around the clock availability.
Respite care is the term for a moment of relief for caregivers, to allow them the opportunity to focus on their own care and wellbeing. This is beneficial to both the patient and the caregiver.
Does Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care offer respite care?
When you have a hospice patient with Crossroads, our respite care ensures that everything does not fall squarely on your shoulders. Of course our hospice nurses routinely visit to care for the patient, and allow caregivers to ask questions about care, symptoms, and progression of the end-of-life timeline. But Crossroads volunteers also provide much needed respite by coming monthly, weekly, or daily for scheduled check-ins and visits, depending upon the needs of the patient and caregiver. Volunteers provide much needed companionship, serving as a new person to listen to stories or tell stories, and can also read to the patient and perform other activities.
When a caregiver needs even more of a break, Crossroads can facility respite care at a nearby nursing home or similar facility. This care typically lasts for a few days.
These hospice respite care visits from volunteers and possible short stays at nursing facilities help avoid or reverse caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout can result in depression, anxiety, isolation, illness, insomnia, or lack of personal care and wellbeing. This is a real danger for caregivers who do not accept assistance. The burden of care on top of normal life, which for many includes a full or part-time job, can become too much for one person to handle. Respite care is not about saying you can’t handle it or you don’t love someone enough — it’s about recognizing that your own wellbeing is vital in order to care for your loved one.
Benefits of hospice respite care for caregivers.
Hospice respite care has a variety of benefits, both physical and mental, to help caregivers avoid burnout and exhaustion.
Physical benefits for caregivers.
- Increased energy: the ability for caregivers to take time for themselves can result in increased energy. Respite care allows a caregiver to exercise, take a nap, run errands, relax, spend time with friends or family, and even take a few days for themselves — really to do anything that will help them to recharge their batteries.
- Ability to focus on self-care: hospice respite care gives caregivers the time to focus on themselves. Their lives revolve around their patient/loved one. It is important they take regularly scheduled time to focus on their needs. This helps to avoid burnout.
- Regulated sleep patterns: reduced stress and increased self-care helps caregivers to unwind at night or even to not be forced to stay up later than preferred in order to take care of things for themselves. A regular sleep schedule is an important part of self-care and overall health.
Mental benefits for caregivers.
- Avoid feeling stressed or overwhelmed: stress can cause mental and physical illness, so it’s important to regulate it. Respite care allows the caregiver to take time to decompress, focus on their personal needs, and relax.
- More positive outlook: it is not uncommon for caregivers to begin to look forward to a respite caretaker or volunteer’s visit. This gives them a much needed break and results in something for caregivers to anticipate as well as a feeling of rejuvenation when they return to their caretaker responsibilities.
- Opportunity to be social and spend time with family and friends: isolation is a big problem for caregivers. The patient can many times become their entire lives, which can leave them feeling alone. Respite care allows them to leave the house and interact with friends and family, enjoy activities, or even just talk to other people without feeling rushed or guilty about the time they are spending away from the patient.
Benefits of hospice respite care for patients.
Respite care doesn’t just benefit caregivers. Patients can see some benefits as well.
Hospice respite care benefits for patients.
- Reduced guilt and anxiety: patients sometimes feel guilt over requiring care from their loved one. Because respite care allows the caregiver to take a step back from care, it puts the patient at ease that they are no longer requiring 24/7 care from their loved one.
- Increased social interactions and reduced isolation: a respite care professional can reduce the feeling of isolation. Hospice patients are commonly house-bound. Introducing a new individual or new location for a few days into their lives can provide excitement, new energy, and conversation.
- Improved emotional relationship with caregiver: patients and caregivers will both benefit from some time apart. Caregivers do not feel overwhelmed and patients do not feel guilty or resentful of their loved one.
Crossroads helps caregivers.
Accepting help is the right choice.
It is not abnormal to feel wrong or guilty about asking for help, but it is in the best interest for the caregiver and the patient. The physical and mental health of caregivers is just as important as that of the patient.
If you feel uneasy about hospice respite care due to a lack of control, here are some tips to help:
- Plan scheduled breaks: scheduling your respite care will allow you to anticipate the break, mentally prepare, and feel at ease that you will soon be able to provide the care your loved one needs – only now you will be refreshed and reenergized.
- Create checklists: this will help you feel at ease when releasing control. It is not uncommon for caregivers to be responsible for meals, medications, bathroom and grooming activities. A checklist will allow you to quickly and accurately inform anyone taking over care of what has transpired that day as well as what still needs to be done.
- Keep an open line of communication: talk to your hospice or respite care provider about the patient’s well being as well as your own. This will allow you to form a relationship, release stress, and express problems to which they may have solutions.
Where is respite care provided?
Respite care in the form of volunteers coming to help relieve the caregiver can occur at a hospice patients’ home, place of residence, or at a nursing facility. If a patient needs to receive respite care at a nursing facility, Crossroads will help organize the details. Our team is always available to come to where a patient lives to provide services to individuals receiving hospice and palliative care as well as their families and/or caregivers. In this instance, the service we’re actually providing is hospice or palliative care, it takes the form of respite care for the caregivers.
Who pays for hospice respite care?
Medicare typically covers standard hospice care, but you should contact the hospice billing coordinator for a full understanding of what is covered and what you or your loved one may be financially responsible for. If a patient is on hospice care for longer than six months, they may be required to go off hospice care.
Temporary respite stays in a facility are often covered by the same hospice care/coverage a patient is receiving.
If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us via any of the options in the green bar at the top of this page.