Respite care is there to support you and your carer for short periods of time. It can give you both a break and can also give you the chance to meet new people.
What respite care looks like depends on your situation. It can be available for a few hours, a few days, or longer and provided in your home, the community or an aged care home.
Respite care is often planned in advance. For instance, if your carer is planning a trip or has an appointment to attend. However, it is also available in emergencies or unexpected situations.
If you need emergency respite care, call Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.
If you’d prefer to talk to someone, you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
What types of respite care are available?
There are many different types of respite care available depending on your eligibility, needs, and services in your area. These include:
Emergency respite care
If your carer is unexpectedly unable to care for you, emergency respite care can help. 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.
If you need emergency respite care in your home or in the community, contact the Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.
You may have to provide some information when you call. This is to make sure the right type of care can be provided.
Further information on emergency respite is available on the Carer Gateway website.
If you need emergency respite in an aged care home please see more information under residential respite below.
Care in your home
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.
Flexible respite is provided under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
Care outside your home
There are three types of respite care available outside your home.
Centre-based respite is available during the day. It gives you 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.
Centre-based respite is provided under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
Cottage respite is available overnight or over a weekend. It takes place in aged care accommodation or community setting other than in the home of the carer or host family. It can be taken for two to three days at a time.
Cottage respite is provided under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
Residential respite care takes place in an aged care home. It is best suited to people who need carer support for most tasks and can be for a few days through to a few weeks at a time.
You need an assessment to determine your eligibility for residential respite. However, If you haven’t had an assessment, in an emergency situation you may be able to access residential respite care in an aged care home. In these cases, your provider can arrange an urgent assessment for you.
How does residential respite work?
When you receive residential respite, you are entitled to the same care and support services as permanent residents of the aged care home. For example, 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 aged care assessment, you will receive a respite classification. This will determine the level of respite subsidy your provider will receive, and ensure you receive care appropriate to your needs.
How much residential respite can I access?
Residential respite is available for 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.
What will respite care cost me?
You may be asked to contribute to the cost of your care and services. How much you pay will depend on the type of respite care you receive.