What is Respite Care in Aged Care?

respite care

In Australia, there are a range of services available to support individuals in remaining as independent as possible while living in their own homes and participating in the community. 

Among the short-term care options available to assist with this, 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.  Respite care could be for a few hours at your home, a day out in the community, or as a short stay in an aged care facility.


What is respite care?

Respite is a type of short-term care for when you or your carer need to take a break for a short period of time.

Depending on your needs, 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 where your everyday needs can be met, without your carer.

If you are looking for respite care or if you’re a carer looking for a break, Aged Care Decisions can assist you in finding residential respite care suited to your needs.  We have experienced aged care specialists who can answer your questions, offer advice and help you find respite care options near you. Click here to access our free service. 


What short-term care options are there?

There are three types of short-term care options, all of which provide care and support services to meet specific needs.


Short-term restorative care

Short-term restorative care is designed for individuals who are beginning to require help with everyday tasks and are seeking to avoid, or at least delay long-term care and support services.  Utilising an array of health professionals, an individualised plan is developed to address the difficulties being experienced and promote independence.

You may be eligible for short-term restorative care if you are an older person who is needing help with day-to-day tasks, finds that you are slowing down physically, mentally or both and wanting to stay independent and out of long-term care.

Read more about short-term restorative care: short-term restorative care


Transition Care

Transition care offers support and specialised care following a hospital stay, assisting in recovery and regaining your independence sooner.

Tailored to your individual needs, the care is delivered as appropriate – in your own home, in the community, in an aged care facility or a combination of these as your needs change. Transition care is to help you reach the goal of returning safely to everyday life while minimising the need to access longer term care and support.

You may be eligible for transition care if you are an older person who is a patient in a public or private hospital, have been informed that you are ready to leave hospital and would benefit from short-term help.

Read more about transition care: transition care


Respite Care

Respite care is a temporary break for carers and the people they care for, made available through provision of services either in an aged care facility (residential respite) or in the community.

Respite care is used when your carer is unable to care for you for some reason or when you or your carer need a break from your usual care arrangements.  Respite care can also be used to give families additional time to make the necessary arrangements to prepare for their loved one to enter into permanent care.


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What is residential respite?

Residential respite refers to a short stay in a nursing home or aged care facility, most commonly for several weeks.  It 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 services to meet your personal and care needs during your stay.

While the same level of care and support is provided as would be given to a permanent resident, respite’s temporary arrangement does not require a long-term contract or a payment of an aged care refundable accommodation deposit (or bond).

To determine the level of respite subsidy your provider will receive, and also to ensure you receive care that is appropriate to your needs, an ACAT assessment by My Aged Care is required.  Using this information, you will be approved for either low or high level care. If you are approved for high level care you may access low level care, but not vice-versa.

Eligible people can access up to 63 days of subsidised respite care in a 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 your aged care assessor.

Our team of aged care specialists can guide you through this process, providing phone support and personalised service to ensure you receive relevant information and advice.  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.


What is community respite?

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. Through a range of planned respite services, the CHSP supports the relationship between you and your carer by allowing carers to take a break from their usual duties.

You may be eligible for community respite if you are an older person who requires support. To determine your eligibility, a face-to-face assessment can be organised though a My Aged Care (MAC) or Regional Assessment Service (RAS).

You can:

Read more about the CHSP: community respite services under the CHSP



What is emergency respite?

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

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

Read more about the different types of respite care: respite care



Does the government pay or contribute towards my respite?

 To make care more affordable, the Australian Government subsidises the providers of short-term care directly.  Although respite care is subsidised, you are still required to pay the basic daily fee. The maximum amount you could be asked to pay for this fee is:

  • $56.87 per day, if you receive care while living in a residential aged care setting
  • $11.71 per day, if you receive care while living at home



How do I find respite vacancies?

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 2,000 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.

All amounts nominated above are current as of 20 September 2022, but are revised twice a year.

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