Respite Care is a service that pays for a person to come to a Veteran's home or for a Veteran to go to a program while their family caregiver takes a break. While a Veteran gets Respite Care, the family caregiver can run errands or go out of town for a few days without worrying about leaving the Veteran alone at home.
Respite Care can be helpful to Veterans of all ages, and their caregiver. Veterans can receive Respite Care in an inpatient, outpatient or home setting.
Respite Care is for Veterans who need skilled services, case management, and assistance with activities of daily living (e.g., bathing or getting dressed) or instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., fixing meals and taking medicines); are isolated or their caregiver is experiencing burden. Respite Care can be used in combination with other Home and Community Based Services.
Respite Care can help lower the stress the Veterans and their family caregiver may feel when managing a Veteran's long term care needs at home.
Since Respite Care is part of the VHA Standard Medical Benefits Package, all enrolled Veterans are eligible IF they meet the clinical need for the service and it is available.
A copay for Respite Care may be charged based on your VA service-connected disability status and financial information. Contact your VA social worker/case manager to complete the Application for Extended Care Benefits (VA Form 10-10EC) to learn the amount of your copay.
Find out more about Paying for Long Term Care.
You may be able to get Respite Care in a number of ways:
Depending on the Respite Care services in your area, you can choose which options are best for you and your family caregiver. For example: If your caregiver has lots of errands to run or appointments, you could have a Home Health Aide come to your home while your caregiver is out of the house. If your caregiver needs time at your home alone, you could attend an Adult Day Health Care center for the day. Or, if your caregiver is out of town for a few days, you could stay at a Community Living Center (VA Nursing Home) during the time they are away.
No matter which option you use, trained staff will help you with your care needs.
Respite Care services may be available up to 30 days each calendar year. These 30 days may be used in different ways. For example:
You may also be able to divide your 30 days among the 3 different types of Respite Care.
You can use a Shared Decision Making Worksheet to help you figure out what long term care services or settings may best meet your needs now or in the future.
There's also a Caregiver Self-Assessment . It can help your caregiver identify their own needs and decide how much support they can offer to you. Having this information from your caregiver, along with the involvement of your care team and social worker, will help you reach good long term care decisions.
Your physician or other primary care provider can answer questions about your medical needs. Some important questions to talk about with your social worker and family include:
If Respite Care seems right for you, your VA social worker can help you locate VA Respite Care services and assist with making arrangements. You can also use the Helpful Websites listed in the Guide to Long Term Care to help you locate services in your community.
I like knowing that my mom can catch a break and do things she needs to do while not having to worry about me all the time. Getting Respite Care lets her take some time off!
It's a relief to know that I can have help in caring for Sam when I have to take care of other priorities in my life. Since we live together, the best thing about Respite Care is knowing there are certain times I can take care of projects at home and Sam can get the care he needs while staying in a Community Living Center. This was a godsend when I needed to paint the place.
Christina, Veteran's friend and caregiver
Veterans Crisis Line:
1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs | 810 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington DC 20420
Last updated March 12, 2014