Who pays for respite care?

Respite care is one of the services that can be funded through either the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or My Aged Care services. This article outlines different types of respite care, and how subsidised respite care can be arranged and funded.
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    What is respite care?

    Respite care services are designed to give your primary caregiver a temporary break from their caring responsibilities. Respite care services can vary in duration and can be provided in a variety of settings. In some cases, respite is provided to you at home while your carer goes away. In other cases, you may stay somewhere else, like at a residential care facility, aged care facility or group home. Respite care services are beneficial for both the caregiver and the person receiving care, as it allows your caregiver to take a break and recharge, while ensuring you are safe and comfortable.

    Benefits of respite care

    A short stay away from home can give you new opportunities such as:
    • Making new friends
    • Developing new skills
    • Experiencing a change of scenery
    This short term break gives your carer a chance to rest, attend appointments or enjoy other hobbies and pastimes. A short term break may make it easier for them to continue caring for you in the longer term, and relieve stress or worry.

    Who is eligible for respite care?

    Older people and people with a disability who have a carer either living with them or regularly visiting to provide care may be eligible for respite care through either the NDIS or My Aged Care. These two schemes are funded and supported by the Australian Government for people who are permanent residents or who meet other eligibility criteria. Through these schemes, short term respite care or subsidised residential respite care are provided to to give the carer can have a break.

    Subsisided respite care through My Aged Care

    Older people who require care, and who have been assessed by an aged care assessor from the Aged Care Assessment Team My Aged Care may be eligible for centre based, residential or flexible respite services. These services can be allocated as individual service bundles through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, or with other services as part of a Home Care package. These programs have been established for those on the aged pension to avoid the need for a hospital stay or a permanent move to an aged care home. Services are subsidised for those on the single basic age pension and the daily fees you will be asked to pay will be just part of the overall cost.

    Subsidised respite care through the NDIS

    Short term accommodation can also be funded through the NDIS. If you have short term accommodation indicated on your NDIS plan, you can stay in another place, away from home, for up to 14 days at a time. This gives your carer a break, and provides you with the opportunity to try new things. The NDIS usually provided up to 28 days of short term respite care per financial year. This allocation could be used as two fortnights, or, in four week-long blocks. You might even like to consider respite for one weekend each month. If your NDIS plan does not include short term accommodation, but you think you would like to have this opportunity, then speak to your Support Coordinator.

    Emergency respite care

    It is important to have a plan in place for emergency respite care to ensure that caregivers can access support when they need it most. Emergency respite care is a type of respite care that is provided in situations where your primary caregiver is unable to provide care due to an emergency or unforeseen circumstances. It provides immediate support and relief to the caregiver and ensure that the you are safe and well-cared for. Sometimes, emergencies or unexpected events happen. It can be scary and confusing if your carer is injured, has a major illness or is for some other reason unable to care for you. Emergency respite services can be organised quickly to ensure you are taken care of and are charged at a basic daily fee. Emergency respite care can be provided in a variety of settings, including in-home, centre-based, or at residential care facilities or a nursing home.

    What happens if my carer can no longer care for me?

    If there should be an irretrievable breakdown in your relationship with your primary carer and they can not continue in their caring role, then extra supports can be arranged to help you ensure you are taken care of and that there is no risk to your health or safety. Carers can contact Carer Gateway for more information related to their access to respite care, types of respite and transition care.

    Respite options

    There are several options for respite care in Australia, depending on individual needs, location, and availability. Some of the common options include in-home respite care, centre-based respite care, and residential respite care.
    • Centre-based respite care is provided in a facility where you can participate in activities, socialise and receive personal or medical care and support.
    • Residential aged care or disability respite care involves a temporary stay in a facility where you can receive round-the-clock care and support.
    • In-home respite involves someone coming to stay with you in your own home, helping you with everyday activities, while your carer goes away.
    You can read more about these options in our blog In-home vs Facility Respite Care.

    Other respite options

    If you do not wish to have overnight or weekend respite care, then there are also day options it might be worth considering. Alternatives to overnight stays include recreational and single day respite programs, during which you attend a local day centre or care facility. These programs can be a good way to get used to being away from your carer for a few hours without going to residential respite.

    How much does respite care cost?

    The NDIS set pricing guidelines and regulations, to ensure that all NDIS participants are receiving quality and value for money care services. For each service type, there is a maximum basic daily fee. Respite care service costs may vary depending om the time of day and day of the week, if the day is a public holiday, and if the supports required are deemed to be of high intensity. There are also remote and very remote care costs, which are varied depending on where you live. At the time of writing, respite care services under the accommodation charge rate can cost between $65 and $276 per hour, or at a daily fee of between $800 and $4000. Each of the different types of respite care have a unique item number allocated to them. They may also be costs for cancelled respite services. The full list of NDIS pricing arrangements and price limits is available on the NDIS website.

    What is covered in respite care accommodation?

    When you go and stay overnight somewhere as a respite service, your needs will be taken care of. This includes:
    • Personal care services
    • Meals
    • Activities and additional services as agreed
    • Help with medication if you need it
    You do not need to pay for transport to and from your accommodation as it is usually included in the tested care fee.

    Finding and selecting respite care accommodation services

    When you are selecting a respite care provider, you might want to consider the following:
    • Location- there are short term respite services located all around New South Wales. You may prefer a location that is close to home and in your local area, or you may choose to visit somewhere further afield.
    • Equipment- if you require particular equipment such as hoists, always check that the accommodation you choose has what you need.
    • Facilities- different services may have different facilities for group activities and entertainment
    • Staff- it is often a good idea to visit a facility before you arrange a stay, and get a chance to meet the staff who will be caring for you. You are within your rights to ask for information about the qualifications and experience of staff.

    Related questions

    When you are receiving respite care services through the NDIS, you have the right to

    • Choose the service provider
    • Change providers if you are unhappy with the level of service you have received
    • Decide what information you give to your provider about yourself
    • Pay reasonable respite care fees for the service
    You can read more about your rights and responsibilities at the NDIS webpage on this topic.
    Our tailored short term care services, residential respite and short term accommodation services can be arranged quickly and easily.

    We can help you access respite that is susbidised though your allocated government funding, either as part of the NDIS or through My Aged Care. Our staff are fully qualified and will work with you to design and plan your respite. We will talk you through how to pay for services through your care package or plan. Contact us for further information about our support services, short term care options and linking or referral to community respite.

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