CEMM Virtual Library

The Caregiver's Journey

Time Off/Respite Care

The demands of being a caregiver may cause many challenges. Respite, or time off, care helps both the caregiver and service member/veteran in living with brain injury. Respite care is a valuable resource to you and your family member. Respite care offers a break and allows you time for yourself. A companion or sitter may provide respite at home. Respite may be provided outside of the home in an adult day care or assisted living or nursing facility. It can range from a few hours per day, a week, or short-term placements. Day Rehabilitation Programs may help your family member remain in the home. These programs may also provide meaningful, engaging, structured activities during the day while you go to work outside the home.

Respite services for persons with TBI are generally supported by government grants and contracts, nonprofit agencies, Medicare, Medicaid, and through self-pay (most often sliding scale fees). Many VA Medical Centers offer respite care and day programs.

TRICARE provides respite care for homebound service members on active duty who meet the following criteria:

  • Their conditions or injuries make them unable to leave home without taxing effort
  • They need more than two interventions during the eight-hour period per day when the primary caregiver would normally be sleeping

For these individuals, TRICARE provides a maximum of eight hours of respite per day, five days per week. This benefit is retroactive to January 1, 2008, and has no cost shares or co-pays. For more information, consult TRICARE.

The National Resource Directory can direct you to respite programs. Your religious community, local social service agency, local chapters of Easter Seals, the local mental health agency, military service organizations, veterans service organizations, and Military OneSource’s Wounded Warrior Project are all organizations that can help you find the right respite care for you.

Ask your Point of Contact/case manager about the Exceptional Family Member (EFM) Respite Care Program, and how to qualify. More information can be found at Army OneSource and Military Homefront.

There are many organizations that have respite care.  This list may be useful:

Exceptional Family Member (EFM) Respite Care Program


  • Forty hours of respite care per month per EFM 
  • Parents select respite care worker 
  • Monthly Respite Care Newsletter: Army OneSource


  • Goal to assist sailors by addressing the special needs of their family members during the assignment process
  • Navy EFMP Coordinators are located at Navy medical treatment facilities. Their role is to refer to the Fleet and Family Support Center for community assistance
    • Special medical, dental, mental health, developmental or educational requirements, wheelchair accessibility, adaptive equipment, or assistive technology devices and services at Military Homefront.


  • Forty hours/month 
  • Care can be provided by
    • Installation CDC 
    • FCC Home 
    • Visiting Nurse Service 
    • Family member 
    • Neighbor

National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA)

  • Partnership Program with Marine Corps EMFP Respite Care 
  • Forty hours/month of free respite childcare
  • Ten participating bases

Air Force Aid Society Respite Care Program

  • Respite Certificate issued with number of hours of respite over three-month period 
  • Services are re-evaluated quarterly 
  • Four to six hours/week — average 
  • Family identifies care provider 
  • Will not reimburse for a relative to provide care

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