Short stays in aged care homes

If you're caring for someone who still lives in their own home, you may occasionally need to take a short break. This could involve anything from a few days to a few weeks off to attend a wedding or other event, to go on a holiday or to just generally take some time for yourself. You may also need help while you are unwell or unable to provide care for any other reason.
If the person you care for needs help on a day-to-day basis, they may need to have a short stay in an aged care home while you have a break. This is called 'residential respite care', and can happen on a planned or emergency basis. Once you are back from your break, the person you care for will also return home.

What if I need help right now?

If you need emergency respite care, phone 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.

What level of care is available?

An aged care home may provide a range of care and services, depending on your needs. 
You will first need a free assessment with a member of an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT, or ACAS in Victoria). An ACAT will talk to you about your current situation and work out if the person you care for is eligible to receive residential respite care. The ACAT will also explain the type of care the person you care for requires.
The person you care for may access residential respite for up to 63 days each financial year. This time can be extended in lots of 21 days if an assessment finds that this extra time is necessary.
The availability of services varies from region to region, and the assessment of the person you care for will determine their needs in line with what help is available in your area.