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Respite Care

Respite care provides needed rest and time off for primary caregivers who care for beneficiaries at home. It is a limited TRICARE benefit, available only to the primary caregivers of:

  • service members, including activated guard/reserve members, who incur a serious injury or illness while on active duty 
  • terminally-ill TRICARE beneficiaries who are receiving hospice services
  • Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) beneficiaries

Line of Duty

The line of duty respite benefit allows for a maximum of eight hours per calendar day, five days per calendar week, and prior authorization is required. To qualify, the service member must have a serious injury that has resulted in or may result in a physical disability or an extraordinary physical or psychological condition. (View TRICARE's Respite Care for Injured Service Members for additional information.)


Inpatient respite care in a hospice setting is limited to no more than five consecutive days at a time. An approval from HNFS for the hospice care is required. The necessity and frequency of the respite care will be determined by the hospice’s interdisciplinary group with input from the patient's attending physician and the hospice's medical director.

Extended Care Health Option 

Beneficiaries eligible for ECHO also have access to respite care coverage. ECHO respite care allows for a maximum of 16 hours of care per month and services must be provided exclusively to the ECHO beneficiary. The primary care giver or another adult does not have to be present when the clinician provides the ECHO respite service for the care to be covered. For ECHO respite, there is no prerequisite for the beneficiary registered in ECHO to receive other non-respite care services during same month.  

The ECHO Home Health Care (EHHC) respite provides a maximum of eight hours per day up to five days per week to allow the primary caregivers time to sleep. This respite care is for the caregivers of those beneficiaries who need frequent skilled interventions three or more times in the eight-hour respite period. 

See our ECHO Benefits page for additional information.