Respite care scheme

Respite care (“avlastningstiltak”) is a service for individuals and families who provide care to someone with demanding care needs. Respite care is needs-based and can be organised in various ways.

The aim of respite care is to:

  • prevent overloading
  • give you the leisure time and holidays you need
  • enable you to take part in normal community activities

Respite care is free of charge and can be provided either as respite care in your own home or as a stay at an institution.

Who is entitled to respite care?

You may be entitled to respite care if you care for someone with demanding care needs. Examples include if:

  • you work many hours a month providing care
  • the care is more physically or mentally demanding than usual
  • the care involves a lot of work or interrupted sleep at night

Different care services

The municipality is obliged to offer a range of respite care services and can for example provide such care in the form of

  • home help
  • day care 
  • respite care at a nursing home

The aim of the respite care is to give you a normal amount of leisure time, enable you to go away on holiday and time to maintain your social network.

The municipality will assess the level of support that you need and decide in cooperation with the individual care provider whether the services should be provided in the form of respite care.

How do I apply for respite care?

You should apply to your municipality if you need respite care. You can find out how to apply on the municipality's website or by contacting the municipality.

Once you have applied, the municipality will be obliged to give you a written decision (individual decision). This applies whether or not your respite care is approved. The decision will state the services that you have been granted, their scope and how they will be organised. If your application is rejected, the reason for the rejection will be explained. 

Appealing against decisions

You can appeal if you are not satisfied with the decision you have been given. This applies if you believe that you have not been granted enough relief, that the relief should be provided in a different way or that your application has wrongly been rejected. The decision will explain what you need to do in order to appeal.

Your appeal should be sent to the municipality, who will review the case. If the municipality does not uphold your appeal, your case will be referred to the county governor for a final decision.

There is a patient and user ombudsman in every county. You can contact them for advice, guidance and information about your rights as a patient, user or relative.

Health and Social Services Ombudsman

The ombudsman can help you with questions about health services and provide advice and guidance concerning your rights.

Helse- og omsorgsdepartementet - lov om kommunale helse- og omsorgstjenester

Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet - behandlingsmåten i forvaltningssaker

Content provided by The Norwegian Directorate of Health

The Norwegian Directorate of Health. Respite care scheme. [Internet]. Oslo: The Norwegian Directorate of Health; updated Wednesday, April 20, 2022 [retrieved Friday, June 21, 2024]. Available from:

Last updated Wednesday, April 20, 2022