Preventive care, also known as respite care, together with day and night care and short-term care, is an opportunity for family caregivers to take a breather and to relax a little themselves. Because caring for relatives is time-consuming and costs strength and nerves. That is why it is important for family caregivers to take time off and, for example, make use of preventive care. What it is and how it works – we have summarized the most important facts for you.

Respite care – what is it?

If you are temporarily unavailable for caring for your relative, for example, because you are ill or on vacation, you can apply for so-called respite care from the long-term care insurance fund. If it is approved, the long-term care insurance will cover the costs of the necessary replacement care. In total, you can take advantage of preventive care for a maximum period of six weeks in a calendar year. This means that the care replacement does not necessarily have to be taken in one piece. Instead, you can opt for weekly, daily, or hourly replacement care.

Requirements for the use of respite care

In order to be able to take advantage of respite care, certain requirements must be met, namely these:

The benefits of the care fund for respite care

As a caring relative, it is important for you to know the number of benefits you can expect from the care fund for respite care. The benefit for the financing of a substitute caregiver through long-term care insurance is $1,612 for a period of up to 42 days per year. This amount can be topped up from short-term care funds, provided these have not already been used. This amounts to a maximum of 50 percent of the sum available for short-term care of $1,612, i.e., a maximum of $806. This results in a maximum total amount of $2,418 for a maximum period of 42 days.

This time limit only applies to the use of preventive care for several days. If you only use this by the hour, this time will not be extrapolated to days. This means that only the maximum amount is limiting.

Half of the care allowance will continue to be paid to the person in need of care during the period of day-to-day use of preventive care. The situation is different with the hourly use of respite/preventive care, which has no influence on the amount of care allowance.

The exercise of Respite care

It is up to you who you appoint to carry out preventive care. These can be volunteer nurses, nursing assistants, or outpatient nursing services. But it can also be taken over by neighbors or friends. If the respite care is carried out by a person who is related or related by marriage to the person in need of care up to the second degree or who lives with them in a household, you will receive a cash benefit that must not exceed 1.5 times the amount of care allowance. If you provide evidence of the necessary expenses for the substitute caregiver, the benefits can be topped up to a maximum of $1,612, with an increase of $806 from short-term care funds possible.

In order to receive cash benefits, you must submit an application to the long-term care insurance company for payment of respite care. Even if you don’t necessarily have to do this in advance, it is still recommended. In this way, you will be informed in good time about the amount of the benefit and the correct billing procedure, which may vary depending on the health insurance company.