It is important to find a service that feels right for your family member and that you trust the workers to provide appropriate care.
There are many different types of respite available. Contact your regional respite and carers support service to talk about the options available in your area. You may need to look outside your area to find something suitable particularly if your family member has unusual or high care needs.
You can usually visit a respite facility before booking your family member in. Visit with them (if possible) and meet with key staff to discuss everybody’s expectations and needs.
Respite works best when everybody works together.
You provide much of the day to day care needed by the person you support and have a unique and deep understanding of their needs. It is important that the workers who support you acknowledge your expertise and work in partnership with you.
Take the time to get to know the workers who will be supporting your family member. A good relationship builds trust and helps you to communicate your needs more easily.
Discuss the types of support available and work with the respite provider to decide what will work best for you and your family member. Communicate your needs and expectations clearly and openly but also be prepared to listen and to accept what the provider can and can't provide.
Read our advice on speaking up for yourself for tips on how to negotiate for what you need.
Ask to be involved in developing a care plan for your family member.
With the help of your doctor, support worker or pharmacist write down important information that the respite workers may need to know, including:
A life book contains written information and pictures about a person's history, personality, likes and dislikes and practical needs. If your family member finds it difficult to communicate for themselves, creating a life book can be an informative and friendly way to help respite workers get to know them better.
Clearly label clothing and other belongings.
Make a list of the practical things you need think about or pack if your family member uses residential respite. Copy and use it as a checklist.
Time to yourself is precious.
‘Pottering around at home' can be very satisfying but try not to use all your respite time catching up on outstanding chores.
Put aside time to do something relaxing or energizing - something you will really enjoy. Plan ahead and make sure you do exactly what you want:
Sometimes things go wrong, particularly the first few times. Respite is an adjustment for everybody and it can take time to get things right.
These problems are not unusual and they should not stop you trying again.