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Temporary stays in a care home

If you are unsure that a permanent move into a care home is right for you, then a temporary stay could be the answer.

You may decide that day care in a care home can give you the support you need.

What it can provide

A temporary stay in a care 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 after 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 care home. However many care homes keep rooms just for short-term care.

You should make sure that the care 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 care home first so you can see the facilities for yourself.

Funding temporary stays

If you can pay the complete cost of your temporary care, you can make your own arrangements. Care home fees vary a lot around the country so it is a good idea to approach several care homes.

You can ask your local council 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.

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

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

Using direct payments to pay for a temporary stay

Direct payments are intended to support adults who live independently in their own homes. If your local council agrees that you need a temporary stay in a care home then you may be able to use your direct payments to pay for it.

Temporary stays with nursing

You can ask your health authority to assess you for respite care with nursing - if you are eligible for this type of care, your health authority should pay. You can ask your health authority for a copy of their eligibility criteria.

Day care

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

You can go to a care home for day care every day or just one or two days a week. Your local council can let you know about care 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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