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Short breaks for carers

Who is a carer?

A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends, who could not manage without it.

What is a short break?

If you spend a lot of time caring for someone, it’s important to make time for yourself. You are not letting the person you care for down. Having a break can help maintain your health and wellbeing and give you the energy to carry on caring. It’s sensible to have time to rest, catch up with friends and pursue your own interests.
At other times you may want to take a break with the person you care for, for instance to go to the cinema or visit a place of interest, but need support to do this.

What is respite care?

Respite care is the term used for services which enable you to take a break from your caring role.

Some respite services provide care for the person you care for. Other respite services provide support for you and the person you care for, so you can have a short break together.

How long is a short break?

Short breaks can vary from a few hours to a week or more, depending on your needs and those of your family. It may be that you just need a break for a couple of hours to attend an appointment or a regular break for a few hours each week to pursue an interest. You may need a longer break of a week or more so you can go on holiday or have a rest.

Top tip - plan ahead.

It can take a while to arrange respite care so it’s best to look into it as soon as possible, especially if you are booking things such as a holiday or planning to start a regular class.

Types of respite care

Local day activities

The person you care for can be helped to take part in activities outside the home, for instance at a social centre or day care centre

Organisations which provide day care and day activities

Accessible breaks, activities and day trips

The NHS Choices website provides details of accessible breaks, activities and daytrips which can give you and the person you care for a welcome break.

Adult Placement – Sharing Lives

The Council provides a service called Sharing Lives which matches you and the person you care for with their specially trained and approved carers.

The service can provide emergency respite in response to an unforeseen situation. Support is offered for a limited amount of time at short notice, day or night.

They can also provide respite placements, where a carer provides support for a longer, planned period of time to give the usual carers an extended break.

Care at home

Someone comes to stay in the home of the person you care for and provides their care for a while. This can be for a few hours or sometimes overnight. This can be a family member or someone from a homecare agency.

Homecare agencies which can provide respite care.

Residential respite

The person you care for is looked after in a 24hr care setting such as a residential care home, a nursing care home or on holiday.

Residential care homes and nursing homes which can provide respite care.

Top tip – ring the home as soon as you can.

Ring the home to check the availability of respite beds as soon as you can. Respite beds are in short supply and so often need to be booked well in advance.

Finding quality respite care services

Find a range of respite care services. All home care agencies and care homes on the directory show their CQC rating and you can read their CQC reports.

You can also rate and review any of the organisations on the directory and read what other people have to say about them.

Any organisation that is on the Council’s Recognised Provider List (RPL) will display the RPL logo on their listing in the Sheffield Directory. The RPL is a list of providers that follow a clear quality framework set up and monitored by the Council.

Carers Allowance and other benefits

There are benefits that you may be entitled to as a carer including Carers Allowance.

You can still get Carer’s Allowance if you take a break. You could for example get Carer’s Allowance for up to 4 weeks if either of you go on holiday. However, the rules are complicated so you should get specialist advice from the Carers Allowance Unit or you can contact Sheffield Carers Centre or your local Citizens Advice Bureau at Advice Sheffield.

Can I get help to pay for a short break?

Carers Needs Assessment

Sheffield carers who are aged 18 or over, can access a Carer’s Needs Assessment by contacting Sheffield Carer’s Centre.

If you’re an adult carer, providing care for someone aged over 18 years of age, a Carer’s Needs Assessment provides an opportunity to discuss the support or services you might need to help you in your caring role. 

The assessment looks at how caring affects your life, physically, emotionally and practically, and at whether you are able or willing to continue caring. 

The person carrying out the assessment will discuss with you any support you may receive already and consider with you how other approaches or activities might help you. They will also be able to advise, for example, about benefits you may be entitled to and will support you in accessing specialised help. 

A carer’s assessment is not about assessing how well you're carrying out your caring role, it's solely about supporting you as a carer.

If you would like to discuss this or ask for a Carer’s Needs Assessment, call the Carer Advice Line on 0114 272 8362 or email your query to: support@sheffieldcarers.org.uk

Time for a Break

Sheffield Carers Centre provide a Time for a Break service which aims to help you get a break from your caring role. For some carers, this will mean they can help you find groups or activities at which you can forget your caring for a few hours. In other cases they may be able to give you a small grant to enable you to take a break. 

To use this service, you should ring the Carer Advice Line on 0114 272 8362. The Advisor will talk to you about your caring situation, how it’s affecting your life, and what may help you to continue caring. 

It may be that one of the ways of helping you is to support you to have a break.  This does not always mean going away.  For example, for some it may be a little regular time and space alone, or support to enjoy a hobby or sport, going to the cinema to see a film, or a night out. 

The Carer’s Centre have a new Time for a Break Respite Co-ordinator, who will be looking at ways to use the funds that are available to help as many carers as possible have the break that they need, where they could not otherwise do so.

The Carer’s Centre also aim to expand the options available, to offer greater flexibility to find a way of having a break that fits individual needs and circumstances.  They recognise how important it is for carers to have some time for themselves, and how difficult that can sometimes be.

Continuing Health Care Funding

It is also possible for Continuing Health Care Funding to be used to help provide respite care to support you as a carer.

Grants for holidays

Find out about funds and trusts which provide grants for holidays.

Activities for you

You can find a host of activities for you to take part in on the Sheffield Directory. You will find details of hundreds of sporting and leisure activities. There are support groups for carers, social and friendship groups for you to join, classes for you to attend and health and wellbeing activities to help you keep fit and well.

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