Respite Care

by Karla Barnett on June 24, 2011

I often struggle with finding the right person to care for my son if my husband and I want to have a date night/day.  I’m sure he would be fine but I truely feel people don’t understand his behavior.  So what do we do…absolutely nothing and we begin to burn out.

About a month ago, I stumbled across Respite services and I thought this would be perfect for us!!!  I searched online for services in our area and came up with nothing.  I was chatting with a friend the other day and she told me about a service she uses, I called them up and have an interview with them next week.  What you pay depends on your income but the cost is minimal and you will receive quality care from a professional who understands your childs needs.    Listed below is information on Respite care.


What is Respite Care?

Respite care provides families with temporary relief from the stress of raising a child with special needs.  Respite care is different from day care because it usually occurs on a short-term or intermittent basis.  While respite is a much-needed break for parents, it is also an opportunity for children with special needs to have some time away from their parents. Believe it or not, sometimes children need time away from the stresses of being at home as much as their parents do!

Benefits of Respite Care

Raising children can be challenging at times, especially if raising children who have special needs. Some parents do not use respite care because they can’t imagine anyone else having the knowledge and experience to care for their children. Because their children’s needs are so great, parents are not often afforded the luxury of a night out or time to regroup.

Parents often forget how important it is to take care of themselves. Respite care gives parents time to take care of themselves and reenergize, and can help relieve stress. Some parents need respite to run errands or get a good night’s sleep. It is also an opportunity for parents to put their home life into perspective. Respite care can also offer additional learning and recreational experiences for children and their families.  If it is used properly, respite care can be an essential tool in keeping families healthy, happy, and together.

If you are looking for a respite care provider, be sure to get referrals from your support group, community liaisons, caseworkers, and foster care/adoption agencies.

Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions! The following

questions can be used as a guide when interviewing potential respite care providers:

  • What is your training and level of experience? How long have you been providing respite care?
  • Do you offer in-home care?
  • Do you provide organized activities?
  • Do you provide meals?
  • Can you administer medications to my child as needed?
  • What procedures do you have for emergencies?
  • Do you have training in first aid and CPR?
  • How far ahead of time do I need to call to arrange for services?
  • Can you provide transportation for yourself and for my child?
  • What is the cost of services? How will payment be arranged?
  • What is your knowledge of the special needs (FASD, RAD, etc.) of my child? 

Preparing Your Respite Care Provider

Once you have found a respite care provider, it is important for you to train the provider in caring for your child. No one knows your child better than you do and the smallest details about your child may be the most important for your provider to know.

Talk about what you hope to achieve from respite care. It is important for your provider to understand what your expectations are. You also need to be open when discussing your child’s needs with your provider. The more your provider understands your child’s needs, the more prepared he or she will be to handle the various situations that may arise.

Set aside some time for your child to meet with the provider in your home. If your provider plans to care for your child in his or her home, have your child visit the provider’s home as well. It is important for the provider to develop and nurture a relationship with your child. This will also give you an opportunity to observe the interactions between your child and the provider. Your child should be comfortable with your provider and you should know that your child is being left with a safe and capable caregiver.

Let your provider know what works for you and what doesn’t when caring for your child. Breaks in routine and structure can be difficult for children, so the more consistency between you and your provider, the more beneficial the respite experience will be for your entire family.

Take Care of Yourself, Too

Parents of children who have special needs should remember that taking care of themselves—in addition to taking care of their children—is essential to keeping their family strong and intact. Every parent needs a break every once in a while, and parents of children with special needs often require extra support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Remember that you are not alone and there are resources to help you in your parenting journey. Taking a much needed break can help you be a better parent and can greatly benefit your entire family.

To sum it up, my husband and I have NO SUPPORT and this makes Respite extremely attractive for us!!!!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

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I’m not easily imesesrpd. . . but that’s impressing me! :)


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