What’s the Difference Between Respite Care and Short-Term Rehab?

What’s the Difference Between Respite Care and Short-Term Rehab?

Patients and their families often need a variety of medical services to recover from an injury or illness, or to engage in activities of daily living. Many of these services may seem the same at first glance, but are actually quite different.

Short-term rehab and respite care are similar in many ways, but each provides different benefits to patients and their families. Both are forward-thinking practices that involve highly-skilled professionals who provide customized, effective and compassionate care that helps patients recover more quickly.

About Short-Term Rehab

Short-term rehab helps patients regain their health after an injury or illness quickly so that they can regain their independence and return home faster.

Short-term rehab frequently involves a number of specific services, such as skilled nursing, post-surgical care and physical, occupational or speech therapy. Rehab may focus on pain management, skin or wound management, recovery from a stroke, hip replacement or other orthopedic surgery. Short-term rehab services may include intravenous or enteral therapy to help with nutrition, non-acute cardiac care or dialysis support. Some short-term rehab providers offer advanced services, such as electrical muscle stimulation, manual therapy and neuromuscular facilitation.

Rehab may also include care management specialists and care-at-home services in some cases.

About Respite Care

Respite care helps family caregivers by allowing them to take a temporary rest from caregiving while still providing a safe environment.

Everyone needs a break now and then; this is particularly true for individuals who provide care for a family member. On average, caregivers spend 13 days each month shopping, preparing food, doing housework and laundry, providing transportation and administering medication, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance. Family caregivers spend another 6 days per month performing feeding, dressing, grooming, walking, bathing and assistance with toileting. About 40 percent of caregivers are in high-burden situations, providing 21 or more hours of care per week.

Providing care for a friend or family member is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. The challenges of caregiving can lead to stress, which can result in serious health problems. Most caregivers are women, according to the Office on Women’s Health, and women are at special risk for the harmful effects of caregiver stress. These effects can include depression and anxiety, which increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Caregiver stress can also lead to a weakened immune system, weight gain and obesity, higher rates of chronic disease and problems with short-term memory.

Regular breaks from caregiving can reduce caregiver stress and its negative health consequences. Using respite care does not mean that the caregiver has failed – in fact, it means the caregiver is wise enough to utilize all available resources in order to provide the best care possible for every member of the family.

Respite care is somewhat like taking a “mental health day” at a high-pressure job. It allows the caregiver an opportunity to rest, refresh and recover. Respite care can provide a chance to spend quality time with other friends or family members, handle personal errands, go shopping, exercise, go to the doctor or take some personal time – all with the comfort and peace of mind knowing that a caring and competent healthcare provider is watching over the patient.

Respite care provides a variety of services, memory care, skilled nursing and rehab. Exceptional respite care includes a full range of services, such as nutritious meals and snacks, housekeeping, laundry and bed linen service, planned activities that stimulate the mind and move the body, help with medications and assistance with bathing and grooming as needed.

While respite care is beneficial for the caregiver, it also benefits the patient by giving them an opportunity to interact with others with similar experiences. Patients spend time in a safe, supportive environment and participate in activities that match their personal needs and abilities.

Participating in respite care regularly can foster strong relationships between patients, families and respite care providers. Having an existing relationship with a respite care provider can also pay off during an emergency, unplanned situation or unexpected trip.

Both short-term rehab and respite care can greatly enrich the lives of patients and their families. The Overlook provides the short-term rehab and respite care your family needs in a lively, engaging community nestled in the picturesque New England countryside. The caring and compassionate professionals at The Overlook provide short-term rehab, respite care and other healthcare services with integrity, grace and respect for individual choice. Learn more about our senior care programs.