How to get subsidised short-term residential respite care

Feb 1, 2024 | RESPITE CARE

When you, or the person caring for you, needs a break from your everyday routine, residential respite care might be just what you need.

Let’s look at how government-subsidised residential respite care works, and how it might help you and your loved one.

How to get subsidised respite care

What is residential respite care?

Residential respite care involves a short-term stay in an aged care facility or nursing home.

When you receive residential respite, you will get the same care and support services as permanent residents of the aged care facility, including meals, laundry, and social activities, as well as the care services you need to meet your everyday needs.

Short-term residential respite care presents the opportunity for carers to take a well-earned break.

For the person receiving care, residential respite care offers the chance to enjoy a change of scenery, make new friends and to get a taste of what life in a residential aged care facility is like.


Is respite care government funded?

The Australian Government will fund up to 63 days of respite care per eligible person per financial year. The 63-day allocation resets on 1 July each year.


Who is eligible for government subsidised respite care?

Australians aged 65yrs+ (or 50yrs+ for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people), who need assistance with everyday living are likely to qualify for respite care.

My Aged Care have a handy eligibility checker on their website that you can use to quickly check whether you or your loved one is eligible for subsidised aged care.

If you or your loved one doesn’t fit the standard eligibility but would like to access respite care for whatever reason, contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to discuss your situation.


How can I get respite care?

To access subsidised respite care, you must complete an assessment to determine your eligibility. Assessments are coordinated by My Aged Care – you can get started with this link: How to apply for an assessment | My Aged Care or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

In an emergency you may be able to access residential respite care without an assessment – in this case your provider can arrange an urgent assessment for you.

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.

Read more about aged care assessments: ACAT Assessment Guide – everything you need to know (


How much will I need to pay towards the cost of respite care?

Residential respite fees are not the same as those for permanent residents in an aged care home. There are no accommodation deposits or bonds that you need to pay.

For a residential respite stay, you will need to pay:

• a basic daily fee, which is set by the government at 85% of the single basic aged pension.
• a booking fee, which will be deducted from your daily fees during your stay.
• Additional service fees for any extra hotel-type services that you opt for, such as pay TV. Additional service fees are not subsidised by the government – you will need to pay full price for these items.


How do I find a subsidised residential respite care room?

This is where Aged Care Decisions can help.

Our FREE service helps families find aged care vacancies, Home Care Providers and respite care options that match the care needs and preferences of their loved ones.

We save time and reduce the stress of finding short term respite care vacancies.

Connect with Aged Care Decisions to find out more.


How long can I stay in residential respite care?

Most residential aged care facilities will allow a minimum of two weeks for a respite care stay. Recipients are eligible for up to 63 days per financial year.


What if I need to stay longer?

It is possible to extend a respite care stay by 21 days at a time, with the approval of your aged care assessor.

There are two ways to organise an extension:

  • If you are in respite and would like to extend your stay, the aged care home can arrange it for you. You will need to speak with the aged care home before your current respite stay finishes.
  • If you’re not currently in respite but have already accessed 63 days and would like to arrange another stay you can call the assessment organisation that completed your initial assessment, or My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.


What if I can’t afford to pay?

If you or your loved one need respite care services but believe you can’t pay, then you can apply for financial hardship assistance.

If you qualify for financial hardship assistance, the government will pay part or all your respite care fees.


What if I’m having an emergency and need respite care right now?

If you need respite care in an emergency, call Carer Gateway. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 422 737.


Can I plan respite care in advance?

Most facilities will allow you to organise a short-term respite care stay a few months in advance.

Read more: The benefits of planning respite care services in advance (


How can I find a respite care vacancy?

Aged Care Decisions’ FREE support service assists tens of thousands of families each month to find respite care options, aged care vacancies and home care providers.

Our custom-built technology and our dedicated support team can find the best matched respite care options for you. We can send you a personalised aged care Options Report containing ONLY the respite care options that are currently available and that suit your specific needs.

You won’t waste time calling providers just to find out they have no vacancies or aren’t quite what you’re looking for.

Here’s how our 100% FREE, FAST, and INDEPENDENT service works:


At Aged Care Decisions our mission is to bring comfort to people by empowering them in their aged care experience.

Connect with us to get started.

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