There may come a time during the course of a family member’s illness that caregivers need some time away from the tasks of caregiving. Caregiver stress may lead to physical and emotional distress that can interfere with the ability to provide care. Respite care provides the break that caregivers often need.
Respite care programs are designed to provide temporary, short-term assistance in caring for an individual of any age who has special needs. It is intended to allow the caregivers to take some time away from the patient, and even the patient some time away from caregivers, to allow all parties to emotionally recharge and become better prepared to handle the typical day-to-day challenges of providing care in the face of a terminal or life-limiting illness.
Note on coverage for Respite Care
Medicare will only cover respite care delivered at a Medicare-certified inpatient hospice facility or at a contracted Medicare-certified hospital or a skilled nursing facility that has the capability to provide 24-hour nursing if the patient’s plan of care requires 24-hour nursing intervention. It is important to be aware that Medicare will not cover respite level of care in the patient’s private residence or at an Assisted Living Facility. For other considerations and restrictions, please see the NHPCO Respite Consumer Guide or discuss with a social worker or hospice care team member.
Resources from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO):