Why Respite Care Could Be The Way Forward
Health and social care services are under more pressure than ever before, and it is necessary to act now to find new ways forward. A more flexible and innovative approach to providing services is needed to prevent people being unnecessarily admitted into acute hospital wards, which may not be the best environment for their recovery.
Respite Care After Illness
Following illnesses such as chest infections or urinary tract infections that can leave older people feeling weak and unable to cope alone, admission to a residential care home or supported accommodation for a short time can make all the difference to their recovery. Respite does not always have to be in a care home or other managed accommodation: a homecare package in place until the person has recovered is another option that can help to avoid hospital admission.
Hospital admissions can be very stressful because acute wards are busy places where older people do not always receive the individualised care they need following an illness, an operation or an injury. A short stay in a residential care home can support them through their illness and help them to get back on their feet again.
The atmosphere in respite care homes is quieter and less stressful, and people can be given the level of care they need. Rehabilitation in a care home will ensure that the person has regained their ability to live independently in many cases, and a recent study revealed that 77% of people met their rehabilitation goals following this type of intervention.
Care in a residential or nursing home rather than a hospital also means that the acute beds are kept free for acute cases that need specialist care.
Respite as a Preventive Measure
Sometimes residential care can prevent the need for hospital admission by helping an individual to stay well and maintain their independence. People who are able to go into respite care homes when needed are able to make their own choices and have their individual needs met in a much more comfortable and homely environment than an acute hospital ward.
Carers can also benefit from their loved one going into a care home for a short break to help enable them to carry on their caring duties. Care can be provided on a one-off basis for occasions when the carer needs a holiday or if they themselves become ill. Respite packages can be just a few days or several weeks, depending on the individual needs of the person.
Regular respite breaks in a care home can also be arranged. A package such as a two-week stay in the home every eight weeks can make all the difference to a carer, leaving them able to cope with looking after their loved one at home. This can give the carer regular much-needed breaks with the reassurance that the person they care for will be well looked after twenty-four hours a day.
In addition to providing the best environment for recovery or care for many people, residential and nursing homes can help to free up the beds needed in the acute sector. The more homely environment found in these homes is less intimidating to older people than the hectic and often less personal experience of a hospital.