Caring for a loved one can be rewarding as well as physically and emotionally demanding. From time to time, caregivers may need to take a short break from their caring role. This is where respite care comes in.
Respite care is an important short-term component of caregiving. Essentially, it is a break from the responsibilities of providing care to a loved one.
When Respite Care is needed
In the case of Emergency Respite services, they are engaged due to unforeseen circumstances or during an emergency — sudden death in the family or unexpected hospitalization of the caregiver, for example.
Effective, sustained caregiving is dependent on meeting a caregivers own need for support and respite.
More often though, respite services are used for temporary and anticipated reasons. Common ones include attending to personal needs, suffering from illness or having an operation, not being ready to take care of a loved one at home after the latter’s hospitalization or post-hospitalization rehabilitation.
Clarys Quiammo Santillan, 33, Nurse Manager at Orange Valley Nursing Home (Marsiling), elaborates: “It is not uncommon for caregivers to take up respite care services because they are stressed, they are renovating their home, their domestic helper is on leave or the family plans to go on holiday.”
Respite Care Services
While respite may be given informally by friends, neighbours and family when a few hours are needed for errands to be done, for example, it is more often provided formally by organisations such as Orange Valley when the needs of the care recipient are more demanding and/or are more long-term, for instance.
In scenarios such as these, caregivers choose Orange Valley’s respite services which are available at their five nursing homes located islandwide — Balestier, Changi, Clementi, Marsiling and Simei. There, care recipients are assisted with their daily activities such as showering, toileting, ambulating, transferring and feeding.
“As part of the respite services Orange Valley provides, qualified staff are also able to perform nursing procedures such as catheterisation, nasogastric tube feeding, wound care, colostomy care and tracheostomy,” says Nurse Clarys. “What often makes Orange Valley the best choice for caregivers have we have a good mix of staff who possess specialised skills to provide optimal care for our care recipients. We have trained staff on-hand to administer oxygen and BiPAP therapy, and we provide dementia and psychiatric care, and caregiver training,” she adds.
Certainly, passing the reins over to trained professionals provides peace of mind to caregivers who need respite and it should be a key consideration when looking for respite care services.
Importance of Respite
Indeed finding the right respite care services – whether it is for one day or for on-going scheduled routine relief – to meet one’s needs is important. Similarly, it is crucial to acknowledge that all caregivers — young or old, paid or unpaid— need time off every once in a while to prevent caregivers burnout, which is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion.
Unfortunately, many caregivers feel guilty about wanting, and needing, to take time to focus on taking care of themselves and to break the routine of caregiving. They often think the care recipient, other family members and friends will view them as unloving and unfilial.
“It is a common misconception that because respite care is stay-in, that the care recipient’s family cannot bring their loved one out and as such, family time is reduced. Care recipients are actually happy because firstly, they enjoy a widened social experience that being in a nursing home brings, and secondIy, they see their loved ones refreshed and recharged after a break,” share Nurse Clarys.
Share it on: