All parents eventually need a break from caring for a child at home. Families need time away from their caregiving responsibilities to reduce stress and for physical relief. Care given by another person while you take a break is called respite care. This may last a few hours while you shop and see a movie or a few days while the family takes a vacation. Some families use respite services regularly, while others save it for a special occasion or for an emergency.
Respite care is an important resource for both your child and the rest of the family. Finding someone to provide respite care who you and your child feel comfortable with may take time. It is a very personal decision. Respite care providers can be formally trained professionals from home care agencies, volunteers, or family members. Even if you do not need respite care immediately, it is a good idea to start thinking about it now and identify individuals for future use. Consider using:
TIP: Families need respite care. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Contact the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire for a list of respite care providers.
Although health insurance may not pay for respite care, other funds may be available. In New Hampshire, respite care programs are administered through and funded by the Departments of Public Health, Mental Health, Social Services, or Developmental Services. Contact your state agency to ask if funds for respite care are available and to inquire about the procedure to request funds.
TIP: Recognize your emotional needs and get support.
You may need help in coming to terms with your child's traumatic brain injury and the changes that have occurred in your child and family. You need to take care of yourself emotionally. Counseling comes in many forms, and not everyone needs or wants to see a professional for counseling. Seek out the form of counseling that fits you the best. Counseling is available through:
Contact the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire for a list of counseling resources and family support services.
One way parents have found help is through support groups. Meeting on a regular basis, parents share information on programs and resources, provide emotional support, and act as a sounding board for thoughts and ideas. Members of the support group know what you are going through because they are in similar situations. They can also help you anticipate what comes next based on their own experiences. Ask the hospital social worker or the statewide parent support and information center if there are any groups meeting in your area.
Contact the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire for a list of support groups in your area.