When using the Find a provider tool to create a shortlist, there are a few things to consider:
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.
Find providers for emergency respite care
If it is an emergency and you need residential respite care now, contact your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on:
- 1800 052 222 during business hours, or
- 1800 059 059 outside standard business hours.
Further information on emergency respite is available on the Carer Gateway.
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.
There are no means-tested fees or accommodation payments for residential respite care. Each provider will assess your ability to contribute to your care. What you pay is also discussed and agreed upon between you and the organisation, and is set before you receive the services. Fees for residential respite care are:
The Australian Government sets the maximum you will need to pay. This amount is set as 85% of single aged pension, and is updated twice a year in March and September. Currently, the amount is $51.63.
Aged care homes can offer additional services such as an on-site hairdresser, delivery of a newspaper, paid TV services in your room, or wine with dinner.
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.
Your home will be able to provide you with information on the additional services they provide, their associated costs, and whether they are mandatory services that come with living at the home. However, you can only be charged an additional service fee for something that you can make use of or benefit from.
Some aged care homes have been granted an 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.
Examples of extra services may include: an a la carte menu, free 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.
Some providers may ask for a booking fee to secure your place. The booking fee cannot be more than either a full week’s fee or 25% of the fee for the entire stay, depending on which 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.
If you believe you cannot pay your costs 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.