When using the Find a provider tool to create a shortlist, there are a few things to consider:
Connect with residential respite providers
Connecting with a residential respite care provider that’s right for you can help make your short stay away from home more comfortable and manageable.
Find providers for planned respite care
If you are planning ahead to organise residential respite care, the easiest way to find a provider is to use the Find a provider tool. Simply enter your location to see providers in your local area.
You can also get help to find providers by talking to your assessor, or you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
What to search for
Location is an important choice. You may want to stay in your neighbourhood (or close to it) so you are familiar with the surroundings. Or perhaps you’d like to stay closer to family and friends.
Not all aged care homes have room to take in new temporary residents, and your ACAT approval for respite care does not guarantee a place. You can see aged care homes with current availability using the Find a provider tool and contact them for confirmation. Talk to them about your expected stay dates to see if they are likely to have availability.
Your assessment letter from the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will explain whether you require high-level or low-level care based on your needs. You can see which providers offer high or low-level care using the Find a provider tool.
All providers must provide support for those with cultural and diverse needs. Some also offer specialised services for particular needs. For instance, some places may have staff who speak a language you’re more comfortable with. Or they may cater for those with a medical condition, like dementia. Some places provide support to those with particular religious beliefs, while others cater to populations such as the LGBTI community.
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 notices of non-compliance and sanctions) by using the Find a provider tool or the Non-compliance checker. Read more on the Quality page.
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. Fees for residential respite care are:
Everyone pays a basic daily fee for day-to-day services.
The basic daily fee for a respite resident is set by the government at 85% of the single basic age pension. The government updates this fee on 20 March and 20 September each year, in line with increases to the age pension. Prices are published on the Department of Health website.
Based on current rates, the maximum basic daily fee is $53.56 per day, or $19,549.40 per year.
Some providers may ask for a booking fee to secure your place in the home. The booking fee cannot be more than either a full week’s fee or 25% of the fee for the entire stay—whichever amount is the lowest. Once you enter care, this fee will be deducted from your daily fees. You can ask providers if they charge booking fees and how much it will be for your stay. If they do, it must be clearly outlined in your resident agreement.
Your provider must refund your booking fee if you cancel your respite care booking more than 7 days before your entry date. If you cancel within 7 days before your entry date, your provider may keep all or part of your booking fee.
Many aged care homes offer additional hotel-type services that you have to pay for. These services may include things like a preferred brand of toiletries, access to paid TV services, or arranging a hairdresser.
Some homes allow you to pick and choose what additional service you would like, so you only pay for what you use. Others may have a package of additional services they provide, and some of them must be agreed to as a condition of living in the home.
You and your provider must agree on a fee for additional services before you start receiving them. However, you can only be charged for additional services that you can make use of or benefit from. Because additional service offerings are specific to the provider, the fees for these services are set by the provider. They are not subsidised by the government.
Your home will be able to tell you what additional services they provide, and their associated costs.
Some aged care homes have “extra service” status. This means they can provide a bundle of agreed higher standard hotel-type services for a set fee, without having an impact on the level of care being provided. This extra service status can apply to the whole home or just to individual rooms.
Examples of extra services may include: an a la carte menu, WiFi, individual outings, or higher quality cutlery and linen.
If you choose to occupy an extra service room, you will have to pay the extra service fee for the bundle of services—whether you use them all or not. The fee will be covered in your extra service agreement.
Extra service fees are set by the provider and not subsidised by the government. You will have to pay the full costs.
If you believe you cannot pay your fees for residential respite care for reasons beyond your control, you can ask for financial hardship assistance.
Visiting potential 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.
We have prepared a list of questions to help get you started.
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 the place feel to you?
- What's the environment like?
- Is it too hot, too cold?
- Is it noisy, too quiet?
- 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?
- Is the place clean and tidy?
- What are the common areas like? Are there gardens to enjoy?
- What are the other residents like? Do they look happy, active, and engaged?
- What are the staff like? How many staff do they have?
- Do the residents have privacy?
- Are there any social activities going on?
- If you’ve visited during mealtimes, what is the food like? 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?
I have my preferred aged care homes - what’s next?
The next step is to apply to your preferred aged care homes. The application process is different for each provider, but it usually involves an application form and a copy of your assessment. It’s also best to apply to as many places as you can. That way you have the best chance of securing a spot for when you need it.
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.
Aged care homes 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 aged care homes 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.
Accepting an offer
Once an offer comes in from an aged care home, you can choose whether or not to accept it.
Read more about what to do when you are ready to accept an offer on our Agreeing to services page.