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 Sometimes we all need a break. As a carer, or a person being cared for, a short break is essential to relieve stress and provide you both an opportunity to recharge.  This could be for a few hours at your home, a day out in the community, or a short stay in an aged care facility – also known as short term respite care.


1. You can receive 63 days of subsidised residential respite a year

Respite care plays an important role in ensuring that both individuals and their carer(s) get the time and space needed for everyone’s overall health and wellbeing.  To make respite care more affordable, the Australian Government subsidises short-term care directly.

 Eligible people can access up to 63 days of subsidised respite care each financial year. This includes both planned and emergency residential respite care.  If more than 63 days are required due to your care needs, carer stress or the absence of your carer, it is possible to extend this by 21 days at a time, with further approval from an aged care assessor.


2. Short term residential respite can occasionally be booked in advance

To arrange a short-term respite care stay in an aged care facility, you will firstly need to be assessed by the Aged Care Assessment team (ACAT).  This assessment determines the level of care you require (high or low) and the subsidy the provider will receive to meet your personal and care needs.  If you are approved for high level care you may access low level care, but not vice versa.

Once your care and funding levels are known, you can make arrangements to book your respite stay.  Although possible, it can be difficult for providers to take respite bookings too far in advance as the availability of suitable places in residential aged care facilities fluctuates.

Our team of aged care specialists at Aged Care Decisions can help guide you through this process. Using our aged care vacancy database and our extensive provider network, Aged Care Decisions can match you with respite care options that suit your location, care needs and budget, all free of charge.  Click here to access this service.

Emergency respite is also available when respite care cannot be planned in advance, to accommodate emergency situations. Situations where emergency respite care might be needed include a primary carer passing away, a major illness of a primary carer or an urgent situation that makes it difficult for your carer to look after you.

For more information on emergency respite, visit Carer Gateway and contact Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 if you need emergency respite care.


3. 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.


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4. Respite care can be used for multiple reasons

Respite care is one of three types of short-term care options available for elderly Australians.  Each different option provides care and support services, which meet specific care needs. 


Respite Care

Respite care is a temporary break for carers and the people they care for, available through aged care facilities (residential respite) or in the community.  

Residential respite refers to a short stay in a nursing home or aged care facility, most commonly for two or more weeks.  This is the best option if there is a need for ongoing, continuous carer support for most daily tasks. Along with a room and hotel-type services such as meals, laundry and social activities, you will also receive personal and medical care.

 Respite can also be used to give families additional time to make the necessary arrangements before their loved one enters permanent care. It also provides you with an opportunity to experience living in an aged care facility before moving into one.

Community respite is provided under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), if eligibility criteria are met.  Community respite is available 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.

Learn more about the CHSP here.


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 here.


Transition 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 here.


5. Aged Care Decisions can help find current respite vacancies in your area

When seeking a short-term respite stay, Aged Care Decisions can prepare a customised list of suitable aged care options in your area, matching care needs, budget, preferred location and timeline.

 Aged Care Decisions is Australia’s first 100% free aged care placement and support service. We use Australia’s largest aged care vacancy database and work with over 70% of aged care providers across metro areas of Australia, assisting over 4000 families per month in all aspects of the aged care journey.

 For more information about respite care or to find respite options near you, please get in touch with our aged care specialists. You can call us on 1300 775 870 or fill out this form and we will get in contact with you.


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