Northport VA Medical Center
Ask The Expert – Respite Care
Ann Vasquez-Kosta, LCSW, is a Social Work Section Chief for the Northport VA Medical Center. She has been at the Medical Center for 16 years and is a member of the caring Operation Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom/Operation New Dawn Team.
What is Respite Care?
Respite care services provide temporary relief to unpaid caregivers (usually family members) from routine care giving tasks, which helps maintain the chronically ill veteran in the home.
Respite care may be provided through the VAMC’s Community Living Center (CLC) or through contract Adult Day Healthcare and contract Homemaker/Home Health Aide programs. Respite care may also be provided through non-VA community agencies.
Who qualifies for it?
Veterans enrolled for care at Northport and who have impairments or disabilities that affect their ability to perform “activities of daily living” (e.g. bathing, mobility, eating, toileting, and dressing), are eligible for respite care.
Since respite care provided through VAMC contract Adult Day Healthcare (ADHC) and Homemaker/Home Health (H/HHA) aide agencies is usually less than 24 hours per day, the veteran’s treatment team must determine that the veteran can stay at home safely with less than 24 hours per day of respite care.
How does it work?
To access respite services, veterans and families may call their Primary Care team and ask to speak with the social worker, who will explain services in detail and may ask additional questions to ensure the veteran is receiving all available VA services and benefits.
Veterans who do not have a service-connected disability or who have a service-connected disability that is less than 10 percent will be asked to complete form 10-10EC “Application for Extended Care Services” to determine if they will have a copayment for respite care. Veterans/families may decide not to complete the 10-10EC form, but will then pay the maximum copayment for respite services (currently $15/day for ADHC and H/HHA respite and $97/day for respite in the inpatient CLC).
How long can Veterans receive respite services?
The respite care benefit provides respite services to eligible veterans for up to 30 days per year. Veterans/families may use a combination of inpatient respite in the CLC or community respite through the contract ADHC and H/HHA programs.
Caregivers of seriously injured OEF/OIF/OND veterans may be eligible for additional services authorized through Public Law 111-163 “Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010”.
How could I get more information on it?
Veterans/families who are interested in respite care may call the veteran’s primary care team or the main Social Work office at 631-261-4400, ext. 7029 or ext. 7030, and ask to speak with their primary care social worker.