Information for Natural Families / Guests

The aim of Short Breaks respite support generraly is to support people within their family and community. The NHSN encourages families to engage their own supports through their own natural support networks such as family, local community, neighbours and through the Volunteer Programme. However, the NHSN recognises the need for more formalised supports that some families require.  

We recommend that where possible, short breaks respite supports should be provided in the home & in the community via Host Families, Community/Family Support, Outreach Projects and in other innovative and inclusive ways.  Centre Based respite is recommended to be available for Children and Adults with complex needs which cannot be met in a community environment e.g. severe challenging behaviour involving a threat to self or others or medical needs.


Definition of Short Breaks / Respite

“Short Breaks” is increasingly subsuming the term Respite internationally as it is seen to more accurately express its function and be less stigmatising of its receivers.  The term “Short Breaks Respite” will be used on this website interchangeably with “Home Sharing” and “Short Breaks” as the term “respite” is still commonly understood and in use.

There is international consensus that the definition of Short Breaks/Respite includes the provision of short term, time limited and regular breaks from caring, which;

  • Aims to support and sustain the care giving relationship 
  • Is part of a continuum of support services that should be available for people with disabilities and their families
  • Is an early intervention and preventative model of support which would be provided early and at a sufficient level to prevent crisis occurring
  • Provides people with a disability with opportunities to gain new and positive experiences away from their families, promotes the well being and experiences of the person with a disability and at the same time supports carers to have a break