Community respite is best suited if you need occasional carer support for some day-to-day tasks or activities. It is available during the day, overnight, or for the weekend:
Respite care supports you and your carer by giving you both a break for a short period of time. It can help give you and your carer the time and space to do things independently.
You can access respite care for a few hours, a few days, or longer - depending on your needs, eligibility, and what services are available in the area. It can be accessed in your home, out in the community, or in an aged care home.
Respite care can be planned in advance; for instance, if your carer is planning a trip or has an appointment to attend. It is also available in emergencies - if your carer has an unplanned hospital stay, for example.
If you need emergency respite care, contact Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.
Situations where emergency respite care might be needed, include:
- death of a primary carer
- major illness of a primary carer
- an urgent situation that makes it difficult for your carer to look after you.
You may still have to provide some information when you call, to make sure the right type of care can be provided.
Further information on emergency respite is available on the Carer Gateway website.
How does community respite work?
Centre-based respite is available during the day. It provides you with the opportunity to talk and interact with other people, and usually takes place at a day centre, club or residential setting. Day respite often runs from 10am to 3pm and may include transport to and from the centre.
Cottage respite is available overnight or over a weekend. It takes place in the community or in the home of a host family. It can be taken for two to three days at a time.
Flexible respite is available in the day or overnight. It can be provided in your home or in the community. It usually involves a paid carer coming to your home so that your usual carer can take a short break.
Am I eligible for community respite?
If you are an older person who requires support, you may be eligible for community respite.
Your eligibility will be assessed during your face-to-face assessment organised through a My Aged Care Regional Assessment Service (RAS).
Read more about how to access community respite services under the CHSP.
Residential respite in an aged care home is available for a few days through to a few weeks at a time. Residential respite is best suited if you need ongoing, continuous carer support for most tasks.
How does residential respite work?
During your short stay, you will be entitled to the same care and support services as permanent residents. For instance, you will be given a room and hotel-type services such as meals, laundry and social activities, as well as services to meet your personal and care needs.
Based on your initial ACAT assessment, you will be approved for either low or high level care. This will determine the level of respite subsidy your provider will receive, and ensure you receive care appropriate to your needs. Being approved for high level care allows you to access low level care, but not vice-versa.
How much residential respite care can I receive?
You can access up to 63 days of subsidised care in a financial year. This includes both planned and emergency residential respite care.
It is possible to extend this by 21 days at a time, with further approval from your aged care assessor. This may be required due to your care needs, carer stress, or the absence of your carer.
Am I eligible for residential respite?
You may be eligible for residential respite care if you are an older person who has a carer to help you with your day-to-day care needs.
You will need a face-to-face assessment to determine your eligibility. The criteria are the same for permanent residential care. If eligible, your assessor will also work with you and your carer to find a suitable aged care home.
You can access residential respite in addition to receiving support from the Commonwealth Home Support Programme or a Home Care Package. However, you cannot access residential respite care if you are already permanently living in an aged care home.
Read more about residential respite and how to access these services.
What will it cost me?
You may be asked to contribute to the cost of your care and services, but you won’t need to complete a means assessment. How much you pay will depend on the type of respite care you receive.
Other support for my carer
There are many services online that help support carers. Find out more on the Carer Gateway website.