Caring for someone

What is a Short Break?

A short break (sometimes called respite) is a form of support which enables you to have time away from your caring routines or responsibilities.

The Carers Act and Self Directed Support Act require local authorities to consider how they can support carers to have a break from their caring role. The purpose of this Short Break Service Statement is to provide information to carers and cared for people so that they:-

  • Are aware they can take a break in a range of ways
  • Informed about the shortbreaks available
  • Have a choice about the support they access
  • Identify how they can be supported with a shortbreak that will meet their outcomes

There are different types of breaks available from statutory support to the third sector. We believe it is really important that you have the opportunity to have a break whilst the needs of the person that you care for are being met. 

Shortbreaks – Relaxing time away from caring

A short break aims to support your caring relationship and promote your health and wellbeing. Having a break can also help the person you support and other family members affected by the caring situation. The type of short break that is right for you will depend on your own needs and circumstances.

Examples of short breaks that may be available include:

  • Time with extended family, friends or others in the community
  • Holiday or leisure breaks (with or without the person you care for)
  • Sports or activity breaks (with or without the person you care for)
  • Breaks at day care for the person you care for or a home through the day or overnight (with support from a care at home service) or in a care home
  • Specialist play schemes or after school clubs for the child that you care for
  • Befriending
  • Funding to do something that is important to you that helps you to have a break e.g. relaxation therapies, going out for a meal or to the cinema or getting a magazine subscription

People will have different reasons for needing a break, perhaps they want a life outside their caring role or perhaps they need a break from their caring responsibilities. As part of our carer support plan we will give carers information and discuss with them their personal outcomes and what they think would give them a break from their caring role.

Outcomes may include:

  • Carers having an opportunity to have a life outside their caring role
  • Carers feeling better supported
  • Improved confidence and morale as a carer
  • Increased ability to cope in their caring role
  • Reduced social isolation and loneliness
  • Improved health and wellbeing
  • Reduced likelihood of breakdown and crisis within their caring role
  • Following the break and as part of their carer support plan review we will discuss with carers if their choice of break has met their particular needs and outcomes.

I purchased an annual swimming membership at my local Leisure Centre. Going swimming regularly helps me with my overall fitness & well being. Also gives me time out from my caring role & gives me a recharge to carry on caring. After my break I felt less stressed. I came home revived and ready to continue my role as carer – Carer supporting her husband living with physical disabilities


Having a support plan will help the local authority decide what level of support the carer is entitled to under eligibility criteria. This criteria looks at the impact the caring role has on the carers quality of life.


Charges for support to Carers can be waived if there is a support plan in place.