Caring for a loved one is rewarding – but a regular short break is essential to relieve stress and allow everyone the opportunity to relax, refresh and recharge.
Accessing respite care – from a few hours to a few weeks at a time – can make a significant difference to the wellbeing of carers and the people they’re caring for.
Here are five important things you should know about respite care:
1. The Australian Government subsidises up to 63 days of residential respite per year
Residential respite care involves a person moving into a nursing home room for a short period of time and enjoying the services available, including meals, laundry, social activities, and personal and medical care.
To make residential respite care affordable for everyone who needs it, eligible people can access up to 63 days of subsidised respite care each financial year. This 63-day allowance ‘resets’ on 1 July each year.
If more than 63 days are required due to care needs, carer stress or the absence of a carer, it may be possible to extend respite care by 21 days at a time, with approval from an aged care assessor.
Residential respite care is a great option for people who need continuous carer support for most daily tasks. It can be used to give families additional time to arrange for their loved one to enter permanent care, while at the same time offering an opportunity to experience living in an aged care facility before moving into one.
Read more about the pros and cons of residential respite care here:
2. To access subsidised respite care you must complete an ACAT assessment
The first step towards accessing subsidised respite care is completing an ACAT assessment.
ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) assessments are coordinated by government organisation My Aged Care. They are used to evaluate the care needs of individuals and determine who can access government funding for aged care services including residential aged care, home care and respite care.
Australians aged 65 years and older, or 50 years and older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, can apply for an ACAT assessment.
My Aged Care have an eligibility checker on their website, which lets you quickly check whether you meet the requirements for an ACAT assessment before you apply.
Here is a handy guide outlining everything you need to know about ACAT assessments including how they work and how long they take:
3. You can plan for short-term respite care in advance
Respite care is often planned in response to some kind of emergency or sudden occurrence.
Investigating respite care services in advance lets you sidestep the unnecessary stress and running around associated with finding and securing last-minute care arrangements.
By comparing and choosing potential providers before respite care is needed, you can have your preferred options lined up if you need to arrange care at short notice.
This is where Aged Care Decisions can help.
We assist thousands of Australian families in finding appropriate aged care vacancies and providers.
We use custom-built software that takes your location, budget, specific care needs and personal preferences, and creates a tailored aged care Options Report for you. This report narrows your search down to only include vacancies and available providers that match your needs.
Essentially, we do all the running around for you.
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4. Most aged care facilities require a minimum stay of two weeks
Providers generally require a minimum two-week respite stay to ensure that both the individual and the carer can fully benefit from the respite stay.
Although most aged care providers request a minimum stay of two weeks for respite care, this may be negotiated with each individual aged care facility.
5. Respite care can be used for multiple reasons
Respite care is one of several types of short-term care options available for elderly Australians. Each option provides care and support services that meet specific care needs.
Community respite care
Community respite can be accessed via the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) if eligibility criteria is met.
Community respite offers alternative care during the day, overnight or for the weekend and is aimed at those who need occasional carer support to manage some of their daily tasks and activities.
Here is more information about the CHSP:
Short-term restorative care
Short-term restorative care provides support to older people needing help with everyday tasks, who are seeking to avoid, or at least delay long-term care and support services.
A team of health professionals develop an individualised plan that addresses the difficulties being experienced and promotes independence.
Read more about short-term restorative care:
Transition care offers support following a hospital stay, assisting in recovery and regaining independence sooner. It is tailored to individual care needs and the care can be delivered in the own home, in the community, in an aged care facility or a combination of these.
Transition care can help you reach the goal of returning safely to everyday life while also minimising the need to access longer term care and support.
Read more about transition care:
Aged Care Decisions can help find current respite care vacancies in your area.
We match thousands of Australian seniors with suitable and available aged care providers.
Connect with us now to receive a FREE, tailored, interactive Options Report, shortlisting respite care options for you to review, consider and compare.