Respite Care for Children: What You Need to Know

Keep your child in the comfort of their own home with respite care for children

It is never an easy decision to leave a family member or loved one in someone else’s care, even if it is only for an afternoon or one day, as opposed to overnight. It is an especially important choice when it is a child as they are dependent due to their age, but may also require more complex support for their possible disabilities and health needs.

Respite care offers a short-term solution where a healthcare professional will take over that care that is usually provided by a carer. In the case of a child, this is often the parents themselves who are dealing with the day-to-day support. 

This type of care is commonly associated with the elderly. In reality though, every person that requires care – of any age – will face some time when their carer needs a break. A short time away from your child (or the child you care for) can have a huge positive impact on wellbeing and mental health, whilst being safe in the knowledge they are in the hands of a specially trained caregiver.

What makes respite care for children different?

There will be occasions in every child with disabilities’ life where their carer or family is unable to offer the full-time care they require. Perhaps there is a family emergency, bereavement or sickness, or simply an overwhelming period where frustrations and exhaustion would be reduced from a short break.

These are all completely normal situations we have encountered at Abbots Care, as being a carer for a child can be a tough full-time job, especially if the child has strong needs from a disability or autism.

Respite care for children becomes a more suitable solution when siblings are involved too. Unlike caring for an elderly parent, parents of children with medical needs are often also looking after one or two other children too; making evenings, homework time, or school events tricky and stressful. A respite carer can alleviate that by ensuring the child in need of care receives the full attention for a period of time. This allows parents to give time to other family commitments.

The importance of offering respite care at home?

In our 30 years of experience in offering respite services, we have seen a growing demand in care for children. One reason for this demand stems from the ‘sandwich generation’ of carers where there is an increasing number of middle-aged people responsible for caring for both elderly parents and children.

This can be a tough situation to balance; even more so if the child is disabled or requires additional support for autism for example. Our live-in service is especially focused on providing this short-term care in their usual home environment. We strongly believe the most streamlined and comfortable way for our carers to look after children is when the change is minimal and they are familiar with their surroundings.

A child may be much more comfortable and relaxed with a carer coming into their home – as an extension to their family or usual carer – than being in a new residential setting. It removes the anxiety and stress, and there are no cases of forgotten toys, missing medication, unusual smells, or unsuitable and unadapted equipment or furniture for each individual child. Their home has everything they need.

Respite care for children with disabilities?

Putting a child with learning difficulties or autism into a new environment on their own can be distressing; we already know from numerous scientific studies that children with autism are super sensitive to change, and find changes to set routines upsetting.

In all situations of respite care, the most important factor is to find a professional service that ensures a smooth transition for your child, with minimal disruption to the normal routine.

At Abbots Care, our team of fully trained professional care workers are all accredited by the Care Quality Commission, Skills for Care and the UK Home Care Association. This means children in our care are in highly qualified hands, with professionals equipped to deal with all types of care needs.

Our approach to respite care for children in every instance starts with a free home assessment to fully understand your needs. To find out more about our respite services at Abbots Care, please get in touch.

“I have had personal experience of the standard of care and humanity Abbots carers demonstrate. Last Friday I tripped and fell, hitting my head on the pavement. An Abbots Care worker saw me on the ground and came over to assist me and was then followed by another care worker. They were both very kind and reassuring and carried out First Aid before calling an ambulance crew to check me out as I had a large graze to my head, and the bridge of my nose was cut from my glasses, and was obviously shaken. Another care worker assisted me up and I was taken to their office to wait for the Paramedics. It is so important to mark when you find kindness in people and I know that the tenants at Chilton Green are in very good hands. The lady I visited today told me ‘the girls are my life’.”

Community Officer

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