Taking a break from caring

Taking a break from caring

Caring can be rewarding but it can also be very tough so it’s important that carers are able to take a break once in a while. 

From April 2017 Derbyshire County Council changed the way carer personal budgets (previously carers breaks awards) are awarded and funded. You can find out more on the carer personal budget page.  

Types of breaks

There are different ways in which you may take a break as a carer. You may feel you need an hour each week, a day here and there, a week or two for a holiday, or a combination of all of these. 

Respite or short breaks – usually the person you are looking after goes for a short stay in a residential or nursing home for a few days/weeks, but respite can also be provided in the person’s home.

Sitting services – allow you a break to go shopping, meet up with friends or have time for yourself while the person you look after is cared for in their home. Sitting services usually allow you a shorter break of a few hours. However, some sitting services can be offered overnight. 

Day services  – the person you are looking after goes to a day centre or takes part in activities away from home in the day time allowing you a break from caring

Holidays – some charities organise low cost holidays for carers, either with or without the person they care for. See the bottom of this page for more information.

How to get a break

If you're an adult caring for an adult

You may be able to get a carer personal budget to help support you in your caring role, but you will need to have a Carers Assessment first.

If you need more regular breaks Derbyshire County Council Adult Care may be able to arrange alternative care for the person are looking after so that you can take a break from caring. This may be a planned break or it may be an emergency situation.  

To get planned access to respite or day care, the person you are looking after would need to have an assessment from Derbyshire Adult Care to see if they met the eligibility criteria. You can start this process by contacting Call Derbyshire on tel: 01629 533190.

If the person you care for already receives services from Adult Care, speak to their Adult Care worker. If you don't know who the worker is, contact Call Derbyshire.

If you're a parent caring for a child

If you're a parent carer of a child with disabilities or additional needs it's likely your needs as a carer will be best supported through Derbyshire Children's Services. They may be able to arrange short breaks for disabled children to give parents a break from caring (subject to eligibility). If you aren't already in touch with Children's Services you can contact Call Derbyshire on the telephone number above. If your child already has a worker, you can speak to them about getting a break. 

The Families Information Service may also be able to give advice on tel: 01629 535793.

If you're a young carer caring for an adult

If you're a young carer you can get help to get a break from the Young Carer Support Service.

Derbyshire County Council's Children's Services will also be able to advise you on tel: 01629 533190.

Paying for a break

If you're an adult caring for an adult

If after a needs assessment Derbyshire County Council (DCC) Adult Care arrange for a replacement care service to be provided to the cared-for person in order to benefit the carer, the carer won't be charged for this. However, the cared-for person may be charged, as it will be a service provided to them. How much they have to pay would depend on their financial circumstances and the type of services they used.  Adult Care would carry out a financial assessment.

Charging works differently depending on whether the replacement care is in a residential setting (including short term respite care)  or whether it's in a non-residential setting such as the person's own home. You can download or order printed copies of Adult Care's paying for care leaflets using the Adult Care leaflet order form.

Please contact Call Derbyshire on tel: 01629 533190 for further information.

If the person you support does not meet the care and support eligibility criteria, you may be able to use a carer personal budget to help pay for services to give you a break from your caring role. You'll need to have a carers assessment to see if you're eligible for a carer personal budget.

If you're a parent carer or young carer

If you're a parent carer or young carer caring for an adult, the assessment process and funding of carers breaks is different. Carers breaks and services are the responsibility of DCC Children's Services. There isn't usually a charge for the break if you/the person you care for meets the eligibility criteria. However you will need to have a whole family assessment if you haven't already had one.

For more information on how to get an assessment or a break you can contact Call Derbyshire tel: 01629 533190 or Derbyshire Carers Association who provide the Carer Support Service for both adult and young carers on tel: 01773 833833. 

You may also be able to access breaks offered and funded by local charities and organisations - the Families Information Service may be able to give you further information on tel: 01629 535793.

Emergency situations

If you are unable to provide care due to an emergency or crisis situation and there is nobody else to help, please contact Call Derbyshire on tel: 01629 533190.

It's a good idea for carers to have an emergency plan in place, including a Carer Emergency Card

It may be an emergency situation because you feel you can no longer cope with your caring role and need a rest before you reach breaking point. If this is the case, contact Call Derbyshire who will carry out an assessment of your situation and help find services to support you. This could include emergency respite care for the person you look after. 

Buying respite care and sitting services privately

If you wish to privately pay for replacement care for the person you care for, the charges will depend on the provider.

The Derbyshire County Council Adult Care Brokerage Service will be able to help you find service in your area and tell you which ones have availability. You can contact the service on tel: 01629 537763.

Or you can use the NHS website service finder to find a suitable service in your area - the website has a Trip Advisor style rating feature so you can see what other people thought of the services.

Care Choices also have listings of care services in Derbyshire. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) hold ratings and inspection reports on all services that provide personal care.


Derbyshire Autism services offer a peaceful holiday home, the Lodge, that families of up to four people can book at just the cost it to main takes to maintain and insure it.

Accessible Derbyshire have details of accessible holiday accommodation lets in the area. They may also be able to assist carers with the cost of breaks through their new Carefree Breaks scheme. You can apply by emailing info@accessiblederbyshire.org

Carers UK has a list of organisations in their ‘take a break’ factsheet that may be able to help with low cost holidays for you and the person you care for.  The Carers Trust also have information about organisations who offer holidays. 

Leonard Cheshire offer accessible holidays for people with disabilities and their carers.

The Respite Association offers holiday accomodation to carers free of charge so they can take a break. The breaks are intended to be taken without the cared for person.

End of life care

If the person you care for is nearing end of life, respite and sitting services can be arranged for you and funded by your local community nursing team. You can get in touch with them through your GP surgery.

Other helpful websites

This information was last updated on 28/06/2022

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