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Breaks for carers

There are times when carers need to take time out of their caring role. This could be for a short period, such as time to attend a medical appointment or do some shopping, or could be for a longer period, for example, if you have a holiday planned or need time to recover from an operation.

Some carers will have assistance from family, friends or their community to help support the person they care for while they have a break. However, there may be times where carers don’t have people they can ask for help locally, or where they need an extended break and others haven’t got the time to facilitate the extra care needed. It can be difficult to know where to start.

For adults, breaks are referred to as ‘replacement care’. For families of children with disabilities, the term ‘short break’ is used.

Replacement care

The term 'respite' is used to talk about giving carers a break, i.e. providing respite from their caring role. This can cause some confusion, especially around care assessments and carer's assessments, as it implies the respite is a service for the carer. The Care Act 2014 uses the term ‘replacement care’ to more clearly define that it is a service for the person being cared for, so that they can experience activities or care away from their normal environment. Of course, by the person with care needs having replacement care, their carer might also benefit from having some time away from their caring role.

A Herefordshire Council care assessment considers the needs and aspirations of the person being cared for and might offer replacement care as an option. A financial assessment will calculate whether there is any eligibility for help towards the costs. Advice will be given on the cost and types of replacement care available. 

A carer's assessment considers the needs and aspirations of the carer. The carer's assessment will also take into account the care assessment in recognition that the carer and cared for person have interwoven lives and needs. By combining the two, the assessor can establish what the cared for person and carer are able to do for themselves and what help or support needs to be added. A financial assessment will calculate whether the carer is eligible for any financial assistance.

All carers are entitled to a carer's assessment, even when the person they care for has not had a care assessment.

Short breaks

Short breaks is the term used for a range of services provided for families to give carers of disabled children a break from caring, and for children to take part in fun activities and have new experiences that promote positive outcomes.  Find out more on our respite, short breaks and activities page.

Other information

There are a range of activities available in Herefordshire which can provide a break from your caring role.  Our services and groups directory and what's on calendar offer further details, including activities which:

  • Welcome both the person you care for and you as their carer

  • The person you care for might wish to attend, giving you a break

  • You might like to attend on your own


Visit our carer support organisations page for details of organisations which can support you to find more information about breaks from caring.