If you care for someone who is elderly or has a disability, you may be eligible for respite care. Respite enables you to take a break from your caring role, comfortable knowing that the person you care for is being well looked after. In this article, we define respite care, what it is, and how much you will need to pay a respite provider. We also outline when and how to access emergency respite services.

What is respite, and who is it for?

Respite is a term used to describe the services and supports put in place so that a carer can have a short break from their caring responsibilities. Carers are people who look after someone who is elderly or disabled. They are usually friends, family members or other important person.

Respite care enables a carer to take some time out, do something for themselves, or even take a holiday. Respite is usually organised ahead of time so that a carer can plan ahead for how they will use their opportunity to take a break.

Sometimes, carers need to access emergency respite if they are sick, injured, need medical care or have other personal matters to attend to.

Does the NDIS fund respite?

The National Disability Scheme (NDIS) is a federal government support program for people with significant and permanent disability. Through the NDIS, people with disabilities are provided with funding so they can access the disability services they need. Each NDIS participant also creates an NDIS plan that outlines their goals for the future.

The NDIS funds core supports, capacity-building supports and capital. Respite can be funded as a core support. Eligible participants may receive funding from the NDIS to cover paid in-home or centre-based services, participation in community groups, or temporary additional personal support to remain at home.

Respite through the NDIS often involves a short stay away from your home in residential respite care. As an NDIS participant, you can access respite services for up to 28 days a year. You can use this entitlement for one extended stay, several week-long stays, or even more frequent overnight stays.

Does My Aged Care fund respite?

My Aged Care is a federal government program for people 65 years of age and older who require some assistance with everyday activities.

Following an assessment by the Aged Care Assessment Team, approved My Aged Care scheme participants may be eligible for respite care. Often, respite care will be provided in a suitable aged care home.

Tips for choosing respite care

Finding the right respite provider and facility is essential. Respite is most beneficial when a person feels comfortable, safe and secure while away from home. If you are planning a stay away from home, it is always recommended that you visit the respite care facility first to have a look around.

When you visit, you will be able to get a sense of what a stay might be like. It’s a good idea to visit with your carer, friends, or family members to have some guidance and advice should you need it.

You can find respite services in your local area or look for residential options a little further away. Some people enjoy a complete change of scenery and a new area to explore, while others feel more comfortable finding residential respite in a suburb they are familiar with.

Questions to ask about respite care

When considering a potential residential respite care facility, you might want to make an assessment and consider some of these questions:

  • what is the atmosphere like, does it seem too noisy or too quiet?

  • does the facility seem well-run, clean and organised?

  • what are the rooms like, are they adequately sized, serviced and designed?

  • what are the facilities like, are they modern, and are the shared spaces comfortable?

  • what social activities and entertainment resources are there, are there outdoor spaces to enjoy?

  • what meals are provided, how much choice is there, and are the options nutritious?

When to access emergency respite care

Emergency respite care might be required when a carer is ill or injured. They may need to help out someone else in the family who has had an emergency, such as their own child or grandchildren. Emergency respite care can usually be arranged quickly during emergencies.

When these unforeseen emergency situations arise, they are often stressful for everyone. Carers often worry about the person they provide care for and want to know that they are being taken care of well. The person being cared for may be worried about the health and wellbeing of their carer.

When carers are unwell or have an emergency, the best thing to do is quickly arrange alternative care through an accredited provider.

Emergency respite care

In the event of an emergency situation and when there are no other family members who can help out, it is possible to arrange emergency respite care. Talk to the Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 or view their website here.

You can contact the Carer Gateway 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Respite services and options

Respite can take many forms, and there are many respite options. For example, respite could be:

  • a short stay in an aged care home

  • a vacation with a host family for a few weeks

  • an overnight stay in residential respite accommodation

  • a visit to a day centre or day respite facility for a few hours

  • an outing with friends in the community for a couple of hours

Regardless of the duration or location, respite gives a carer a break from their caring role for short periods of time.

Nursed Care for respite

Nursed Care is an accredited disability and aged care service provider. We offer short term, in-home respite services to NDIS and My Aged Care participants and private customers.

We can also arrange for the person you care for to access:

  • education and training opportunities

  • volunteering opportunities

  • social support programs at a local community centre

  • peer support and personal development opportunities

This means the person you care for will be able to participate in activities they enjoy and find interesting.

Contact us at Nursed Care if you need emergency respite care or regular respite services. Once you meet our team you will be sure to decide we are the right provider for you. There are many benefits in accessing respite and short term accommodation services.

Let’s talk about how we can help you take a break and access crucial temporary relief from your caring role for a few hours. A simple service request and assessment form is available on our website.

Carer health and wellbeing

Accessing respite enables a carer to take a short break from the responsibilities of caring.

Taking breaks from caring benefits both carers and the person being cared for. Caring for another person can be psychically and emotionally draining. Taking a break for a few hours, a couple of days, or even weeks at a time enables a carer to recharge their batteries.

Carers who regularly access respite care report being renewed and refreshed after a short time out. They are likely to be able to fulfill their caring role better and are less likely to experience burnout. Respite gives carers a chance to prioritise their own health and address their own needs.

Peace of mind for carers

It’s important for a carer to be fully informed about where their loved one will receive care and who will provide care. Knowing that their loved one is with the right person and service provider will bring great peace of mind. Carers are more likely to take a break and get some proper rest when they feel confident about the support respite care will bring.

As long as they are prepared in advance, many respite facilities also allow family members to visit short term stay residents. A carer can visit the person they care for if they wish, or for example bring in special foods or other treats.

Related questions

Are you a person who takes care of someone else? There are several agencies, services and resources available just for carers. Visit the following community service provider websites for more information about taking a break and having a rest from caring:

The Australian Government subsidises residential respite services through My Aged Care. Short term care for older people is intended to be affordable, but in most cases you will be asked to contribute. Your cost will vary depending on the level of care you receive. The basic daily fee may include a booking fee and is currently set at:

  • $12.53 per day for care at home

  • $60.86 per day for care in a residential setting

Costs for respite care through the NDIS are outlined in the NDIS price arrangements and limits.

  • The Carer Gateway is an excellent resource for finding suitable residential respite or in-home respite care. If you are an NDIS participant, you can always talk to your support coordinator or local area network coordinator and request a list of suitable local disability services and residential respite care options.

  • If you have had an injury or operation, you may well need some additional support. At Nursed Care, we can provide you with domestic assistance, nursing care, or personal care. However, if your injury or illness is temporary in nature and you have made a claim for respite or health through your health insurance provider, you will not be eligible for help to pay for respite through the NDIS or My Aged Care.

Need qualified care?

At Nursed, we offer a full range of care and disability support services, assisting you to live the life you want to live. Contact us today.

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