Lagan's Foundation

Respite Care for Children: Our Guide

Our Guide to Respite Care for Children with Additional Needs

What exactly is respite care and how does it work? There are different levels of care available for different needs, ranging from care for a sick family member or friend through to respite care for children.

At Lagan’s Foundation we specialise in home health care, short breaks and respite services for children across the North West. In this piece, we’re going to focus on respite care for children and how this service could work for you and your family.


What is respite care for children?

Respite care for children is a temporary break for parents or carers of children with additional needs. This gives parents a break when they most need it by offering an extra pair of hands to care for the child while the parent takes ‘time out’, or uses the time to fulfil other chores at home.

Leaving a child in someone else’s care can be scary, even more so when your child requires extra support. This is why all of our volunteers and members of staff are fully DBS checked and have specific needs training to enable them to care for any child confidently.


How does child respite care work?

The following assistance is offered during respite care for children:

  • Support with medication: We make sure that your child is getting the medication they need. In particular, we offer specialist care to children with heart defects and feeding issues.
  • Cleaning and clothing: We will make sure that your child is dressed and comfortable.
  • Waking nights: If you are longing for an uninterrupted night’s sleep, we can stay in the same room as your child overnight to look after them while you rest. This service typically starts between 8 and 10 pm and ends between 6 and 8 am the next morning.
  • Going out into the community: This could mean getting involved with community activities with other children, walks to local parks and visits to the countryside.
  • Holiday assistance: We can join you as an extra pair of hands on holiday, either within the UK or abroad.


Is respite care available for children with special needs, such as autism?

Respite care is available for children with complex needs and disabilities. At Lagan’s Foundation, we specialise particularly in home care for children up to 19 years old with congenital heart defects and/or feeding difficulties. There are many respite services that specialise in certain areas, so there should always be a safe place for you to leave your child when you require respite.

Our team is qualified to help care for children with a range of disabilities and special needs. A common use of respite care is by carers of children with autism and children with ADHD.

There is a wide range of illnesses, disabilities and special needs that the team at Lagan’s Foundation are trained in and care for. Some of these include:

Developmental disabilities

  • Autism
  • Behavioural Issues
  • Learning delays

Dietary issues

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • TPN feed delivery
  • Feeding issues
  • Blended diet
  • Metabolic conditions
  • Dysphagia

Respiratory and mobility issues

  • Asthma
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Hypermobility
  • Low/zero mobility

Serious injury, illness or trauma

  • Cardiac issues
  • Acquired Brain Injury
  • Rare syndromes
  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Mitochondrial disease

If your child had a condition that is not listed above, please get in touch with us to find out whether we can still be of service to you and your child. In the unlikely case that we cannot provide care for your child, we can try to put you in contact with another respite provider who may be able to help.

Can respite care be done at home?

Respite care can be provided in your home or wherever it is needed. We also provide respite care outside of the home, assisting your child with going out in the community, attending social events and medical appointments.


How flexible is respite care for children?

Respite care can be very flexible. Organisations will work around your needs whenever you need to take a break, whether this is during the day or at night. The number of hours you need care for can vary according to your needs too, and are worked out on an individual basis.

Can respite care be long term?

We will aim to assess the level of care your child needs and how often they will need this, then make a decision as to how long we can provide respite care for. Respite care is typically a short-term service to provide a break for caregivers.

Our charity will consider cases for 6 months of intervention, and trustees will consider each case individually. As we are a charity, qualified care is subject to available funding. We will discuss our available times with you once you are referred to us.


How much does respite care for my child cost?

As we are a charity, our services are funded purely through public donations and available funds. If you are eligible through the donated care package (not eligible for a funded care package from your local authority or CCG), then respite care for your child will be free for you to access however, this will be provided on a 6 month basis with a review at this point to discuss if longer is needed and is available. Get in touch today to see how we can help.

If help is not available for you through our care packages, you can search for services through the NHS and their Carers’ Breaks and Respite Care page, and see what could be available to you.


Why is respite care important?

Respite care is an extremely valued service amongst those who care for children with additional needs. It is vital that carers are provided with adequate support and rest where needed.

Respite care can:

  • Allow carers the time to rest, have fun, meet family and catch up on chores.
  • Provide quality care for children that require extra support and medical assistance.
  • Reduce stress for carers and cared for.
  • Help to improve the relationship between carer and child, and allow the child to form alternative relationships with one of our friendly team members.

It is difficult to leave your child in the care of another person, particularly when your child has additional needs. At Lagan’s Foundation, we strive to provide the best care possible for your child and specialise in caring for many conditions in order to best support every child.


What’s the difference between respite care and hospice care?

Hospice care is specifically for those with terminal illnesses. Carers will provide support such as physiotherapy, rehabilitation and in some cases, bereavement care.

Respite care can be a part of hospice care, as respite care specifically aims to provide care for an individual with additional needs for a short period of time to allow their guardians to have a break from the care.

How do I apply for respite care for my child?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how you get respite care for your child in the UK. The process differs greatly from organisation to organisation depending on their areas of speciality and eligibility criteria.

There are two ways you can do this here at Lagan’s foundation:

Commissioned care packages

These referrals come through social care, local councils or the NHS. A social worker will conduct a detailed assessment of your child’s needs – your child will need to meet specific criteria to be eligible. All being well, a panel from the local council will arrange this on your behalf.

If you are unfortunately unable to receive a commissioned care package, your child is still able to get involved in local groups and activity centres. You can also look into donated care packages, explained below.

Donated care packages

If unfortunately, your child doesn’t meet the criteria but they do still need care for a serious condition – in our case children and young people aged 0-19 with cardiac and feeding difficulties – you can look into donated care packages which are covered by ourselves.

Our board of trustees look at these applications on a case by case basis. This sort of care will only be available in the short term, typically around 6-12 months. If you are eligible for a donated care package, we will seek to gain a deeper understanding of how much care your child requires and how often, and make a plan based on this.

If you are looking for respite care for your child, then you can complete our referral form and our team will be in touch. Alternatively, contact our friendly team today for a chat about respite care for your child


How much does respite care cost?

As we are a charity, our services are funded purely through public donations and available funds, so if you are eligible or coming through a donated care package then respite care for your child will be free for you. Get in touch today to see how we can help.