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Understanding Who Pays For Respite Care

Aldersmead care home resident

Caring for a loved one is a big commitment that can be both physically and emotionally demanding. As a family carer, it is so important that you take some time for yourself every now and then in order to recharge. Taking such breaks will allow you to keep providing the best quality care for your loved one, while also looking after your own health.

Respite can offer a short break, anything from a couple of hours to several weeks, away from caring to allow you to go on holiday, meet up with friends or just take some time for yourself.

Like with many aspects of state funded services, the amount of free respite care your loved one is entitled to is means tested and will require an initial assessment into your needs.

This begins with an initial carer’s assessment which will work out exactly what your loved one qualifies for based on their personal situation.

Care Needs Assessment

Before you start looking at any respite care services or homes, you should first contact your local authority and request both a carer’s and care needs assessment.

Under the new Care Act all unpaid carers, irrespective of financial circumstances, have the right to request further support from their local authorities. As such, certain care may be provided free of charge or at a reduced rate. The level of support at which will be determined by a Carer’s Assessment.

A Care Needs Assessment will look at the different ways in which caring affects your life, which include:

  • • The impact on your family and what is important to them
  • • Your personal feelings about caring for a loved one
  • • Your overall physical and emotional health
  • • And, how the role is affecting work, education and your wider relationships


In order to make a fully informed decision, the assessor is also likely to talk to other involved professionals like a GP or nurse. This is nothing to be worried about and is just to ensure that everyone is on the same page. As part of the assessment, you should also receive appropriate advice about how your needs should be met.

If you’re eligible for financial support, a care plan will be agreed detailing the needs of your loved one and what help can be provided to help meet those needs. Then there will be a means test to find out how will need to be ??? contributed towards the care and support.

If you do not qualify for any support with respite care, then you will be required to find this yourself. Again – the costs involved will vary depending on the type of care required – for example overnight care, day care only or care for specialist conditions.

Types Of Respite Care

Residential Respite

If the person you care for needs help everyday, then you might want to consider residential respite care. This normally involves a short stay in a care home for a few days, allowing you some time to rest and recover. Residential respite care can either be planned or used in an emergency.

Domiciliary Care

This refers to a style of care where someone comes into the home and takes over the care responsibilities from yourself or the existing carer. Generally, this can be from anywhere up to a few hours or sometimes overnight.

Day Care Centres

Day care centres are a non-residential facility that supports the health and daily needs of older people in a professionally staffed, group setting. It is a very popular option, especially if you’re considering full residential care at a later date.

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