Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Respite Care (PA-RC) 2: Personnel

Respite care providers have the competency and support needed to provide temporary care services and meet the needs of individuals and families.


Competency can be demonstrated through education, training, or experience. Support can be provided through supervision or other learning activities to improve understanding or skill development in specific areas.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: RESPITE CARE (PA-RC)



Respite Care reduces caregiver stress, promotes the well-being and safety of care recipients, and contributes to stable families.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Table of contents of training curricula
  • Procedures for health evaluations 
  • Procedures or other documentation relevant to continuity of care and case assignment
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of required trainings and/or competencies
  • Sample job descriptions from across relevant job categories
  • Training curricula
  • Caseload size requirements set by policy, regulation, or contract, when applicable
  • Documentation of current caseload size per worker
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
  • Review personnel files


PA-RC 2.01

Respite care providers are trained or demonstrate competency on the following, as appropriate to the services provided:
  1. assessing the need for additional services;
  2. identification of changes in functioning;
  3. identification of medical needs or problems;
  4. use of adaptive equipment, such as braces and wheelchairs;
  5. providing personal care, including lifting techniques; and
  6. determining if a crisis situation is imminent and intervene using appropriate resources.


PA-RC 2.02

Supervisors are qualified by:
  1. an advanced degree in social work or a comparable human service field with one year of relevant experience; or
  2. a bachelor's degree in social work or a comparable human service field with two years of relevant experience.


PA-RC 2.03

The agency minimizes the number of workers assigned to the client over the course of their contact with the agency by:
  1. assigning a worker at intake or early in the contact; and
  2. avoiding the arbitrary or indiscriminate reassignment of direct service personnel.

Fundamental Practice

PA-RC 2.04

There is at least one person certified in basic first aid and CPR on duty at each program site, at any time the program is in operation.

Fundamental Practice

PA-RC 2.05

Personnel and respite care providers that provide personal care or basic health services receive a health evaluation prior to providing care to determine their ability to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation.


While a physical examination is preferred, personnel should receive a general health screening performed by a qualified medical practitioner, provided that the screening addresses communicable diseases.
NA The program is not designed to serve individuals with personal care or health services needs.


PA-RC 2.06

Respite care providers sign a statement agreeing to refrain from the use of corporal punishment and degrading treatment, and receive training and support to promote positive behavior and implement appropriate discipline techniques.

Fundamental Practice

PA-RC 2.07

Respite care providers are screened and approved prior to having contact with families to ensure they are able to provide the type of care needed, and screenings include:
  1. a criminal record and abuse registry check for all adults living in the provider’s home; and
  2. relevant caregiving experience.


When a finding of child or adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation is indicated, guidelines should be used to determine the appropriateness of provider responsibilities.


Element (a) is only applicable if respite care is delivered in the provider's home.


PA-RC 2.08

Employee workloads support the achievement of client outcomes and are regularly reviewed.
Examples: Examples of factors that may be considered when determining employee workloads include, but are not limited to:
  1. the qualifications, competencies, and experience of the worker, including the level of supervision needed;
  2. the work and time required to accomplish assigned tasks and job responsibilities; and
  3. service volume, accounting for assessed level of needs of persons served.