The Hallmarks Of The Uks Most Successful Respite Care Programs

While there is much discussion in the US about respite care and who will foot the bill for the expenses incurred – the Medicare and Medicaid programs and long term care insurance policies currently seek to cover most of the expense – in the UK the public medicine opportunities open to residents has permitted respite care providers to focus less on payment issues and more on quality control attributes that make the service so sought after.

The hallmarks of the UK’s most successful respite care programs are plentiful, but the highlights are easily identified:

* UK respite care programs are family centered. Instead of having very tightly formulated rules and regulations, there is a lot of room for families as a whole to make decisions about the level of respite care their loved one requires. This takes into account the bonds of the family members, the tightness of these bonds, and also the willingness of different kinship caregivers to work together. The one-size-does-not-fit-all approach has been seen as a major victory for families who are easing in the respite care process and who are not sure yet how to incorporate this aspect of care into the overall care of their loved one.

* Another hallmark of these respite programs is their personal touch that makes families comfortable to not only consider discussing the details of their loved one’s care with a virtual outsider, but to also invite this individual into the family’s home. It is sometimes forgotten that this is a huge step for many families since to them the home is still the castle that provides a shield against the outside world. After all, when the family members leave, the respite caregiver is alone in the home with the patient – a situation that requires the utmost trust.

* Successful respite care programs have learned that each patient is different and each care need varies from the one the agency or provider administered to another client. Flexibility is the call of the hour. Some families may require respite care in the middle of the night, not to leave the house but just to get a good night’s sleep in their own home without waking two or three times to take care of the needs their loved one experiences. Too often those agencies in the US that are bound tightly by the precepts of insurance payments cannot offer this kind of adaptability of service and in some cases the hours of respite care availability are actually dictated by the company footing the bill! In the UK, this is generally unheard of and even though there are agencies that set up their own limitations, they are usually not as sought after.

* The most lauded hallmark of the UK’s most successful respite care programs is the willingness of the individual respite care provider to support the family in the manner the family members outline. In some cases this requires the caregiver to actually be trained in the way the family “does things” for the loved one. Even though they may be semi inconsequential, they matter to the patient and to the family and by having a respite caregiver willing to learn these little details, the support offered to the family is complete!

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