The word "respite" means to take a break: to have a respite from the daily
challenges of caring for a child or a parent with special needs.
It can be planned for a few hours or for as long as a weekend. Respite
can take place in your home or temporarily in another setting, such as
a day center or in the community. Respite can take place regularly
or intermittently, as you need it; however, it does need to be planned
in advance. It gives a break for both the caregiver and the person
with a disability.
Respite for the caregiver can mean:
- time to get out of the house, visit with friends, or have some quiet
- time to go to the store or library or run errands
- an evening out
- a weekend getaway
- time at home to do some tasks while someone else is being the responsible
Respite for the consumer can mean:
- being in another setting
- socializing with other people
- time for a favorite activity
- time to go to a
playground, pizza parlor, bowling, play bingo, or apple picking
- talking with someone
else for a change
respite, there is one agency in each of the three regions of the state
that coordinates and provides in-home respite services. Some respite
agencies allow families to choose people they know, such as a friend,
neighbor or relative, to provide in-home respite service. Since
the respite agencies are ultimately responsible for the respite worker,
they may require that the family-selected person attend training to be
a certified respite worker.
For adults, there are many more agencies
and day facilities that coordinate or provide respite (see "Respite
Providers for Adult Programs"). These day centers offer social
activities, meals and health promotion activities. Basically, the
agencies hire and train the respite workers, whether services are provided
in your home or in a day facility.
How much respite can I get?
After you apply for respite and are found to be eligible, you
can then coordinate your respite needs with the respite agency. Generally,
you will be given an allocation of respite hours over a period of time,
such as 20 hours per month or 20 hours for three months. The amount of
the allocation depends on the level of need and the funds that are available
to the agency to provide respite services. Respite agencies generally
coordinate the allocations with families over a certain period of time;
after that time, generally three months, any unused respite time is lost.
skilled are respite workers?
respite workers are required to complete a 20 hour classroom training
program. They are taught very basic skills including first aid. Some children's
respite workers may be more qualified and may be certified as behavioral
specialists or have other specialty skills. The respite agency determines
the level of care that is needed and the level of respite worker payment
that can range from $7 to $14 per hour. The respite agency pays
the respite worker directly or reimburses you after the service is provided.
Some, not all, respite agencies conduct Maine-based and/or national background
searches on respite worker applicants.
Adult day center providers are trained and licensed by the Department
of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Some
day centers that provide health promotion activities have staff who
are more highly skilled. It
is always wise to ask the facility about their staff training before
What respite does
hospice services (for those who are terminally ill)
regular day care (while parents or caregivers are working)
therapy, nursing services and other rehabilitative services
is the process to apply for respite?
Each program is different. If you just want respite services it
is simpler. If you need other services, it can be more complex.
However, it always involves an assessment of the consumer's needs.
may apply directly to adult day centers that provide respite; for other
programs you must first apply through the state agency. For children's
services, you may apply directly to one of three community providers.
The eligibility and application processes are explained for each program
in this toolkit.
does it cost?
programs are free; others require a small co-payment.