Respite care refers to formal services designed to provide a break for family carers from the physical and emotional burden of caring. This project is designed to test a new model of respite care in County Louth based on overnight care in the person’s home and paid for by the HSE.
In theory, this can mean one of three types of care: (i) day care, (ii) in-home respite and (iii) residential care. In practice, it normally consists of temporary residential care in a local nursing home. However, access is often not this straightforward, especially in the later stages when care needs tend to be more complex and appropriate facilities are limited. In addition, carers are often reluctant to leave a loved one in a nursing home, for fear they may die while away from home. Conversely, the cared-for person may refuse to move into a nursing home, no matter how temporary the residence. The deepening HSE cutbacks have also had a serious impact on the availability of respite, with some areas, such as County Louth, no longer offering respite care.