Temporary stays in a residential care or nursing home

If you or your carer need a break, or you are unsure that a permanent move into a home is right for you, then a temporary stay could help you decide if a home offers the support you need.

What it can provide

A temporary stay in a home can be a welcome break for you and for your carer, if you have one. This is sometimes called respite care.

A temporary stay can provide:

  • care while you recover from an illness or a stay in hospital
  • support if you are newly disabled
  • a break (respite care) for you and,or, your carer
  • a break if you live alone to allow you to continue to live independently
  • an opportunity to get to know a particular care home that suits your needs if you are thinking about permanent care

It is not always easy to arrange temporary care as there has to be a place free in the home. Many homes, however, keep rooms just for short-term care.

You should make sure that the home has the facilities and staff with relevant experience to provide the support for your particular disability or needs.

It is a good idea to visit the home first so you can see the facilities for yourself.

Funding temporary stays

You can ask your local Health and Social Care Trust to assess you for respite care services. If they assess you as needing care, they may be able to help pay for it. This may include the same means test as if the move was permanent.

If you can pay the complete cost of your temporary care, you can make your own arrangements. As residential care and nursing home fees vary, it is a good idea to approach several homes.

You can ask your local Trust about its charging procedures. You may be able to claim Income Support towards the cost of your stay.

Carers are entitled to an assessment of their own health and social care needs. This may include help with short-term care for the person they look after.

Using direct payments to pay for temporary care in a home

Direct payments are intended to support adults who live independently in their own homes. If your local Trust agrees that you need a temporary stay in a home (usually no more than four weeks), you may be able to use your direct payments to pay for it.

Day care

Many homes offer day care services for people who still want to continue living in their own homes.

You can go to a home for day care every day or just one or two days a week.

Your local HSC Trust can let you know about homes offering day care services in your area. If you are assessed as needing day care services, they can arrange to provide them for you.

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