For website banner copy

Principal Author:   Kim E. Whitmore, PhD, RN, CPN, Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and Founder and Chief Change Officer of Ujima United, LLC

An ARCH Workgroup was convened to provide guidance and expertise in development of the Guidelines.  ARCH is grateful for their time and assistance.  



COVID Respite Guidel Draft 7 02 20


Providing and Receiving Respite Care Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic  ---   Voluntary National Guidelines for Respite Care Agencies, Providers, Family Caregivers, and Respite Care Recipients



Purpose of the Guidelines    

As more communities across the country begin to re-open in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, many respite care agencies and other respite providers are also planning to resume services. The guidelines provided in this document are designed to assist providers as well as family caregivers with careful and thoughtful planning and implementation strategies to provide and receive respite care as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We want to emphasize that information from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Local Public Health Departments should be your primary source for guidance on COVID-19 and other health related issues. It is important to closely monitor local guidance and consult with your healthcare professional to ensure your health and safety.

Please be sure to check out the Decision Guides for Respite Providers and Family Caregivers.

Case studies of respite services that have successfully and safely reopened are also provided. 

Sample policy and procedure forms that are included in the Appendices of the Guidelines are also available as downloadable and customizable pdf forms.



Decision Graphic

The Decision-Making Process

The decision to resume respite services is a continuous process that involves thorough assessment, detailed planning, ongoing monitoring,and regular reassessment. Individuals and agencies must carefullyconsider all potential risks, benefits, and barriers before making aninformed decision. It is important to remember that information and guidance related to COVID-19 is evolving rapidly. Additionally, depending on where you are located, the risk for exposure may vary and change over time. As a result, it is important to continually monitor and regularly reassess the safety of providing and receiving respite care. You may need to resume services in a step-wise or phased approach and you should be prepared to stop providing or receiving respite care services as the situation changes. It is important that all individuals involved in providing and receiving respite care feel comfortable with the decision and are kept in close communication regarding any changes.

Decision Guides

To help respite agencies and families decide when to resume respite services, we developed a Respite Agency Decision Guide and a Family Decision Guide that can be used along with the information in the Voluntary National Guidelines to help inform the decision-making process. You can download fillable PDF forms of the Respite Agency Decision Guide and Family Decision Guide. The forms are customizable with an agency name.

Respite Agency Decision Guide

Family Decision Guide


ARCH wishes to thank Monica Uhl, ARCH Consultant, for interviewing the respite program directors and preparing the case studies, and Norma McReynolds for her  beautiful layout of both the guidelines and the case studies. Many thanks to the respite programs that participated and were willing to share both their successes and challenges. 


Available as downloadable fillable pdf forms.  Forms can be customized with the agency name.