Dementia Web - Dementia Information Resource for Oxfordshire

DementiaWeb - Dementia Information Resource for Oxfordshire

Respite in a Care Home

Respite Stays in Care Homes

For some people respite stays in a care home are a lifeline. They enable carers to have a regular or occasional break, usually for a week, that allows them to recharge their batteries, and then carry on caring for the person with dementia at home.

For other people respite in a care home may simply not work. Some carers report that the person with dementia comes home after a week "much worse" than they were before the respite stay. This is probably because going away from home can be a confusing and unsettling experience for many people who have dementia. The surroundings are unfamiliar, they may not be able to find the bathroom, and may not remember why they are in the care home at all.

Another situation that sometimes occurs is that the person with dementia may settle into the routine of the care home during the respite placement, but then become unsettled on returning home. This will then require careful thought as to whether a permanent move into the care home might be less unsettling than repeated respite stays. See Future Care Options.

However for other people with dementia regular respite stays bring about a familiarity with the care home, that makes a later move into the care home less traumatic for all concerned.

Everyone is different. What works for one person may not be the best solution for another.

Arranging Respite in a Care Home

The easiest way to arrange a Respite period in a care home is through Social & Community Services respite beds. These are beds in certain care homes which Social & Community Services pay for throughout the year, in order to make them available for respite stays. Charges will depend on the financial circumstances of the person being cared for, who will be financially assessed. This respite can be arranged some months in advance, through your Care Manager or Community Psychiatric Nurse.

Alternatively, if someone is self-funding, you may wish to approach care homes privately to enquire about respite stays. However in practice this may prove difficult, as many care homes like to keep their beds full for economic reasons. To find out which care homes in Oxfordshire are known to provide respite beds contact Liz Barry, from the Alzheimer's Society Oxfordshire Branch, on 01865 876508.

Social & Community Services -  Care Services Placement Team are able to give advice to self-funders. They can share their knowledge about private respite care availability in the county and provide the contact details of Care Home.

Contact details:

Social & Community Services Care Placement Team

Knights Court
8.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Thursday
8.30am to 4.00pm, Friday
Tel: 01865 323426/323999
Tel: Anne Curtis - 01865 323426 for homes that have respite beds

Our Care Homes section has information about obtaining care homes details. : funded and managed by Guideposts.