Medical Respite

Proposed Minimum Standards for Medical Respite Programs

In 2011, a task force of medical respite care experts was charged by the Respite Care Providers’ Network Steering Committee with developing minimum standards that (1) align with other health industry standards related to patient care, (2) reflect the needs of the patients being served in the medical respite setting, (3) promote quality care and improved health, and (4) are achievable for a range of medical respite programs with varying degrees of resources.

Public comments were accepted from September 1-30,2014; comments are no longer being accepted. The full RCPN Steering Committee and members of the Medical Respite Standards Development Task Force will review public comments and consider amendments to the proposed standards. More information and next steps will be posted on this web page.

Proposed Minimum Standards for Medical Respite Programs

What Is Medical Respite Care?

Medical respite care is acute and post-acute medical care for homeless persons who are too ill or frail to recover from a physical illness or injury on the streets but are not ill enough to be in a hospital. Unlike “respite” for caregivers, “medical respite” is short-term residential care that allows homeless individuals the opportunity to rest in a safe environment while accessing medical care and other supportive services. Medical respite care is offered in a variety of settings including freestanding facilities, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and transitional housing.

Watch a Short Documentary on Medical Respite Care

Filmed by documentarian, John Baynard of the World Witness Project, this short video describes medical respite care from the perspective of consumers, health care for the homeless clinicians, and a physician from a hospital emergency department. Providers and advocates are encouraged to share the video with potential funders, partners, and policymakers. DVD copies of the video are available upon request.