Respite care


Respite care may involve providing alternative family or institutional care for a person with a disability in order to enable the carer to take a short break, a holiday or a rest. It can cover very short-term respite, for example, a carer for an evening, or a much longer arrangement for a holiday. Schemes of respite care are sometimes called 'Breakaway' or 'Friendship' schemes.

Respite care or temporary care may be based in the community or in an institution. In practice, respite care is provided to a varying degree at a number of locations around the country – in some cases by your Health Service Executive (HSE) Area and in others by local or national voluntary organisations.

Care is provided at a number of locations around the country for people with different disabilities. The person being cared for may be admitted to a HSE nursing home for a period of two weeks. Longer stays may be possible in some circumstances. Respite care is organised through your public health nurse or family doctor (GP). Alternative care with a family is sometimes available for children with disabilities, whereas institutional care is usually provided for older people. Sometimes, summer camp arrangements can be made for children with disabilities. These are funded by local HSE Areas at no cost to individuals.

Carer's Support Grant

The Carer's Support Grant (formerly called the Respite Care Grant) is an annual cash payment made by the Department of Social Protection to certain carers for use as they wish.

Where to apply

Apply to the Disability Services Manager in your Local Health Office and/or to a voluntary organisation that caters for people with the relevant disability.

The National Home-sharing and Short-breaks Network is an association of people and organisations engaged in using, promoting and providing host family based services for Irish citizens with intellectual disability, physical disability and autism.

Page edited: 6 April 2016



Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.