Five Sources of Respite Care

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It is an important part of long-term care to allow caregivers the time to manage their own health and well-being. Respite care allows the nurses or companions to take short-term breaks, during which time they can attend to their own needs. This will ensure that both family members and the healthcare provider are happy and healthy.

Unlike more permanent medical facilities or nursing homes, respite care is temporary. It can take many forms: companionship, personal assistance, adult day programs, and residential programs are all types of respite care that can be used to suit the needs of you and your loved one. Short-term attention is also an opportunity for your loved one to be exposed to a new environment. This can add much needed stimulation to their routine. Here are five common types of respite care:


A companion is a person who stays with a family member, granting them much needed personal and social interaction. A companion can help a family member by talking to them, driving them around town, or reading to them. Local community- or faith-based organizations often recruit volunteers for companions to provide your loved one with a helper when you or a long-term custodian needs a break.

Personal Care Providers (PCPs)

PCPs allow for a more comprehensive form of aid for a nurse and a family member. They assist with many daily needs, like getting dressed, eating, showering, or using the toilet. Many PCPs can also contribute to home services by preparing meals, shopping, or doing basic housekeeping chores. Specially trained PCPs are able to administer medical aid in an emergency.

Adult Day Centers

An adult day center is a center with planned activities that are aimed at adults with a measure of independence, but are isolated or otherwise lonely. Activities at day centers promote health and well-being. Day centers also provide access to basic health and other services. Depending on the program, the day center will provide entertainment and a few meals during normal business hours, Monday through Friday.

Residential Programs

A residential program is a program offered by one of the various long-term facilities-group homes, nursing homes, and hospitals-on a short-term basis. Unlike adult day centers, residential programs are often open 24/7, allowing access to nurses for round-the-clock, emergency, and planned overnight services.

Retreats and Camps

Retreats or camps are trips, often put on by residential programs or adult day centers, that allow a loved one access to a new environment, peer interaction, and education. These retreats take on a number of identities and can be to local or distant locations. Depending on the details of the trip, family members may be provided with meals and medical support for the duration of the trip.

Respite care is just one of many options available when assisting a family member. With the proper planning, it can be a welcome break for a nurse, companion, or family member. Consider all options or a combination of several forms of aid in order to find the best fit.

When considering respite care, Maryland residents visit St. Joseph’s Ministries. Learn more at

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