Once you have received your assessment letter saying you’re eligible for residential respite care, the next step is to connect with an aged care provider that’s right for you. Finding a good fit to your preferences and needs can help make your short stay away from home more comfortable and manageable.
On this page, we cover the key steps involved in searching for and connecting with the right provider for your needs:
Find providers near you
There are a few ways to find providers.
- Ask your assessor to refer you to a provider.
If you choose this option, the assessor will refer you to a local provider, who will then contact you directly.
- Use the Find a provider tool to search for local providers yourself.
If you choose this option, your assessor will give you a referral code. You then give this referral code to your chosen provider, and they will take it forward from there.
- Call My Aged Care on1800 200 422 for guidance.
Create a shortlist
Every service provider is different. It’s good to compare what is available to determine the best match for you.
One of the easiest ways to create a shortlist is by using the Find a provider tool on this website. When comparing providers, there are a few things to consider:
Many factors can influence where you want to stay, such as surroundings, people, and services. Use the tool to see a list of aged care homes in your chosen area. You can also see where they are on a map to check how close they are to family, friends, public transport, and to the places you may regularly want to visit.
Not all aged care homes have room to take in new temporary residents, and your approval for respite care does not guarantee a place. You can find availability information for aged care homes using the Find a provider tool. It’s also a good idea to contact your preferred provider to confirm availability for your expected stay dates.
Residential respite fees are not the same as those for permanent residents in an aged care home. During your short stay in the aged care home, you will be asked to pay a basic daily fee. You may also be charged a booking fee. However, your provider cannot ask you to pay a means tested care fee or an accommodation payment.
What you pay for residential respite care is discussed and agreed upon between you and your provider. Your fees will be set out in your resident agreement before you receive the services.
Your care needs
Your assessment letter from the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will explain if you are eligible for residential respite care. You can see which providers offer respite care using the Find a provider tool and looking at their profile.
Your cultural or diverse needs
All providers must provide support for those with cultural and diverse needs. Some also offer specialised services for particular needs, such as languages, religions, or background. This can be included in your Find a provider search to help narrow down your choices and create a more tailored list.
All aged care homes have to meet Aged Care Quality Standards. When they don’t meet these standards, they may receive disciplinary action. You can look for any actions the aged care homes may have (known as non-compliance decisions) by using Find a provider's name search function. When you’re looking at a provider’s profile, you can find this information by selecting the ‘Compliance’ tab.
Visit your shortlisted aged care homes
Visiting the aged care homes can help give you a sense of what it would be like to stay there. It also gives you a chance to discuss your individual respite needs.
What to take with you
Take a copy of your approval letter and support plan as this can help explain what care and services you need. It’s also a good idea to prepare some questions you may have before you get there.
Who can come with you
There will be a lot to take in when you visit. Taking your carer or a family member with you can be very helpful in asking questions and recalling the answers. They can also help with discussing and comparing all the places you visit.
What to look for
While you’re at the aged care home, you’ll notice certain things and form your own opinion. Take your time to walk around and talk to as many people as possible. You may want to keep the following in mind:
- How does the place feel to you?
- What's the environment like?
- Is it noisy, too quiet?
Rooms and facilities
- How are the rooms decorated and furnished? How big are the bedrooms?
- How big is the bedroom you’re interested in?
- Where are the bedrooms located?
- What facilities do they have? Are they modern?
- What are the common areas like? Are there gardens to enjoy?
Residents and staff
- What are the other residents like? Do they look happy, active, and engaged?
- What are the staff like? How many staff do they have?
- Are there any social activities going on?
- If you’ve visited during mealtimes, is the food to your taste? What’s on the menu?
- Does the place look organised and well-run?
- How do staff and residents interact with each other? Are they respectful, kind, friendly?
Apply to your preferred residential respite provider
The next step is to apply to your preferred residential respite provider.
The application process is different for each provider, but it usually involves an application form and a copy of your assessment.
If you have found more than one aged care home providing residential respite which you like, it’s best to apply to them all. That way you have the best chance of securing a spot for when you need it. If you don’t get your first choice, you may get your second or third.
How do I apply?
It’s a good idea to talk directly to the places you are interested in. They will take you through their process. Every place will need the same general personal information. You can gather much of this information beforehand.
Residential respite providers will need to know some personal information. This can include next of kin, health insurance, preferred language, and previous aged care experience. You may want to also include your carer or representative’s details, and any power of attorney details (if applicable).
All residential respite providers must keep your information private under state and Commonwealth legislation. You can expect that the information you provide in the forms will be treated sensitively by the aged care home providing your residential respite.
Accept an offer
Once an offer comes in from an aged care home, you can choose whether or not to accept it.
If you are receiving other aged care supports like a Home Care Package, don’t forget to let your Home Care provider know the dates you are going to have residential respite care.
Read more about what to do when you are ready to accept an offer on our Agreeing to services page.