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Geriatrics and Extended Care

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Respite Care

What is Respite Care?

Respite Care is a program that pays for care for a short time when family caregivers need a break, need to run errands, or need to go out of town for a few days. Respite Care can be helpful to Veterans of all ages, and their caregiver.

There are two types of respite:
Home Respite Care is a service that pays for a person to come to a Veteran's home or for a Veteran to go to an adult day health care program while their family caregiver takes a break or runs errands.

Nursing Home Respite Care is a service that pays for a Veteran to go to a nursing home while the family goes out of town for a few days without worrying about leaving the Veteran alone at home. Nursing home respite may take place in a VA Community Living Center or a community nursing home and is available for a maximum of 30 days each calendar year. This type of respite should be scheduled in advance. Services may vary by location.

The program is for Veterans who need help with activities of daily living. Examples include help with bathing, dressing, or fixing meals. This program is also for Veterans who 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 short-term or long-term care needs at home.

Respite Care

Watch this video to learn more about Respite Care options for caregivers of Veterans.

Am I eligible for Respite Care?

All enrolled Veterans are eligible for Respite Care IF they meet the clinical criteria for the service and it is available. Services vary by location. If the Respite Care is provided by a community agency, adult day health care center, or nursing home, the Veteran also needs to meet community care eligibility.

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.

What services can I get?

You may be able to get Respite Care in a number of ways:

  • A paid Home Health Aide could come to your home
  • You could attend an Adult Day Health Care center
  • You could go to a Nursing Home

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 appointments or lots of errands to run, 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.
  • If your caregiver is out of town for a few days, you could stay at a Community Living Center (VA Nursing Home) or a Community Nursing Home during the time they are away.

Nursing Home Respite Care services are available for a maximum of 30 days per calendar year.

No matter which option you use, trained staff will help you with your care needs.

How do I decide if Respite Care is right for me?

You can use a Veteran Decision Aid for Care at Home or in the Community to help you figure out what home care services or long term care services 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 short-term and long-term care decisions.

Ask your social worker for these resources or download copies from the Making Decisions page at

If Respite Care seems right for you, your VA social worker can help you locate VA Respite Care services and assist with making arrangements.