Respite care is short term care that allows carers to take a break from their role as carer. Respite can be supplied by family, friends, carers or be provided by aged care homes. There are three main types of respite care for older people.
1. In home respite
A carer comes in to your home so the carer can get a break for a few hours, or the carer can take the person requiring respite out for a while. This type of care can be delivered during the day or overnight.
2. Centre day based respite
This respite takes place at a day centre or club. It offers activities and outings and usually runs between 10am and 3pm. Some of these centres offer a pick up and drop off service as well.
3. Residential respite care
This is for individuals who need help every day and enter an aged care residential facility for a short stay. This can be planned as a rest break or because the carer may be going on a holiday.
Residential respite care can be paid for privately (cost varies from facility to facility) or federally subsidised. In order to have access to a federal funded bed, an ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) or in Victoria, ACAS (Aged Care Assessment Service)) assessment needs to be completed. This is a free service that comes to the care recipient’s home to conduct the assessment. To organise an ACAT or ACAS assessment, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or read more on the My Aged Care website. (See the Carers’ Circle article on organising an ACAT assessment).
Residential respite care that is accessed through an ACAT (or ACAS) entitles individuals to up to 63 days respite per financial year, although most aged care residential facilities require a minimum of 2 weeks and usually will only allow a maximum of 6 weeks.
Not all aged care facilities have respite beds so plan ahead and make a booking.
Don’t forget there is also access to emergency respite care which can be organised by contacting your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 during business hours (Monday to Friday, 8.30am–5.00pm) or 1800 059 059 outside business hours in an emergency.
How to access respite care
You could arrange respite informally with family or friends to cover you when you’re not able to care for your ageing parent.
For more formal, structured or higher needs care, you can organise respite care for older people through a private service or government subsidised services can be arranged through My Aged Care.
Some useful links
How to get respite care article from the Commonwealth Government’s Carer Gateway – https://www.carergateway.gov.au/respite/how-get
My Aged Care website article specifically about respite care – https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/short-term-care/respite-care
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