Carers need a break too.
If you are receiving aged-care from a family member or one primary carer, then it is worth considering your options for when they need to take time for other tasks. It may be that your carer needs to attend to everyday activities, take a holiday, or just to take some time for themselves. In these situations, respite care is available to help you and your carer.
Respite care, or short-term care, is the provision of an alternative form of care while your primary caregiver is away. It can involve a temporary carer coming to your home to assist you with daily tasks, or a visit to a day centre, or an overnight respite home. For full aged-care support, you may wish to have a temporary stay at a residential aged-care facility.
Respite care may only be needed for a few hours, a day or two, or perhaps a few weeks. Consequently, the service that you access will depend on your particular needs. Your options will also be determined by your eligibility, the costs and the services available in your local area.
You can access a combination of services to allow you the greatest amount of flexibility and opportunity for respite care.
What are my respite care options?
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme offers a number of Government-subsidised options that include In-home Respite, Community Access Respite, Centre-based Day Respite and Overnight Respite.
In-home Respite involves an alternative carer coming to your home to help with daily tasks. The in-home carer can assist for a few hours, or perhaps stay overnight. This way, your usual carer or family-member can take time to fulfil other duties – or to have some recreation time.Overnight Respite can be offered in a respite cottage or in a host family’s home. Stays may be for just one night, or they can be for a weekend.
Community Access Respite is a flexible service that offers personalised care both in-home and in social settings. Carers can assist you with shopping, or attending medical appointments, and they can organise social and recreational outings.
Centre-based Day Respite offers you an opportunity to travel to a specialised centre where individual or group activities, or perhaps group-outings are available. These centers provide a wonderful opportunity to socialise with others, and to engage in new activities.
Temporary Residential Care
If you need a greater level of support, then a temporary stay in a residential care facility is a good option. In this setting, you will receive comprehensive and skilled care for the duration of your stay.
To access this service, you will need to contact the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). An ACAT member will meet with you to determine your eligibility for residential respite-care. They will discuss your options and determine what services are available in your local area. A full disclosure of the costs involved in a temporary residential stay will be provided by the aged-care service.
A temporary stay at a residential care facility can be accessed in both planned and emergency situation, and within each financial year, you are entitled to 63 days of respite. If you require additional care within the facility, an assessment will determine your eligibility.
When you know in advance that respite care is needed, it is worthwhile planning ahead. Contact your local respite service, the Aged Care Assessment Team, or your local residential care facility to discuss your options. This way, you can ensure that you receive the care you need – and deserve.