It is possible that a time will come during the course of hospice care when the caregiver may need some time away from the day-to-day challenges of caregiving.
Caregiver stress or burnout can lead to a physical illness as well as emotional distress which can interfere with the ability to provide care to a loved one suffering from a terminal illness.
Respite care can be provided through an inpatient hospice unit, a hospice house, a nursing home, or an acute care hospital that has dedicated hospice beds.
Hospice respite care programs are designed to provide temporary, short-term assistance in caring for an individual who has a terminal illness. It is intended to allow the caregivers, often the spouse, children or family members, to take some time away from the patient and even allow the patient some time away from the caregivers. This respite allows everyone to emotionally recharge and physically refresh to better prepare for the task of managing the day-to-day challenges of caregiving in the face of a chronic life-threatening illness.
At times, the patient could be admitted to an inpatient hospice facility, a nursing home or hospital, while the primary caregiver takes a break from providing care. The family may wish to go on a vacation or may just need a few days so they can rest, recharge and get some much-needed uninterrupted sleep. Respite care is allowed up to five days.
In other cases, when the patient’s only source of caregiving is unable to further provide care due to various reasons, respite care can be used to develop a new plan of caregiving for the patients.