Respite care is designed to benefit both carer and person being cared for. It can also act as a trial period before someone decides to transition into permanent residential aged care. The prospect of respite care can bring up a lot of questions and concerns for people.
Will you be limited in what you can do compared to living at home? Who is there to help if you want to visit the local shops or see a movie with a friend? What does it cost? These are questions that our Service Manager, Jaynie, hears pretty often.
Respite care should be a positive experience for the person being cared for and the carer. You should experience high-quality care from highly-trained healthcare professionals in a residential aged care setting. It should also be an opportunity for carers to have peace of mind knowing their charge is being well cared for.
How does respite care start?
Jaynie is the Services Manager at Heritage Epping. When you are entering into a Heritage Care residential aged care home, you will have a dedicated team member like Jaynie that is available from the time you walk into the home and throughout your respite care period to understand your care needs, lifestyle preferences and liaison with essential services such as meals, laundry and cleaning.
Respite suitable for individuals and couples
Residential respite care is ideal for individuals and couples needing ongoing support. Jaynie remembers a recent admission where a married couple opted to try out temporary respite care together at Heritage Epping. After 64 years of marriage, the opportunity to be in care together was of utmost importance to both of them.
“The couple weren’t quite ready to transition to permanent, so after an initial two weeks, they extended their respite another two weeks,” says Jaynie.
“We liaised with the family on the extension and discussed the support needed to manage their ongoing care needs and to make sure our essential services met their expectations. As the Services Manager, I liaise with the managers of each service provider to ensure customer satisfaction.”
For Jaynie, the most important part of a person (or couples) respite care is about clear communication with both the person in respite care and their family, and the couples’ admission was no different.
“Like any other admission, I would always meet with the family and the resident when they enter Heritage Epping. I would help take them to their room along with their luggage. The Clinical Care Coordinator will come in to discuss the admission process and ask them what they would like to have for lunch. The family are also offered a meal on admission day,” says Jaynie.
As part of this respite transition, Jaynie visits the couple almost daily and regularly speaks with family members to address any concerns.
“I wanted to always make sure that they were happy and anything that needed to be followed up, I would do on the day,” says Jaynie.
Making a smooth transition into respite care
To help make the transition from living at home into respite care as smooth as possible, Jaynie spends time before and during the respite care period to ensure each person’s individual care needs are taken care of.
In the case of the married couple, the Heritage Epping team were able to keep them together in the same room and ensure they felt comfortable during their stay. Their decision to choose Heritage Epping came after quite a few tours of other aged care homes which failed to meet their needs.
The initial transition can be hard for people who are fiercely independent, but in this case the husband was able to see the benefits of respite care in managing his deteriorating health. Most importantly, it provided a social outlet and break for his wife who was the primary caregiver at home.
“The time spent with them before and during respite care really helped them. They always knew they wanted to come into Aged Care but didn’t know what to expect. Spending this quality time with them and explaining each aspect of living in Aged Care, really made their respite care period a very positive experience,” says Jaynie.
“They were very grateful of the care and thought the Heritage Epping team were very helpful. Because I got to touch base with them each day, it helped alleviate their fears and concerns early.”
Choose the right home
The best way to ‘trial’ a home before moving into permanent care is through a respite care stay. For Jaynie, her top tips are to look at how the residential aged care home runs and the quality of care available.
Research is key here, says Jaynie, and being aware of what options are available to you.
“For those eligible for government-subsidised residential respite care, you can have up to 63 days of care a year. Some aged care providers have minimum stays and is subject to pending availability. Private respite stays are also permitted. We do not currently offer day respite at Heritage Care,” says Jaynie.
The top advice from our clients who have experienced a respite stay with Heritage care is to “jump at the opportunity” and experience respite care along with your own research to decide whether a home suits your needs.
Another blog you may be interested in…
What is residential respite care and how can it help?
Navigating respite care can seem overwhelming, that’s why we’ve put together this article to give you a complete guide to respite care, including how respite care works in aged care. Click below to learn more.view