Respite, in an aged care home, gives carers the opportunity to take a break, go on a holiday, get back to work, recover from illness or tend to other family needs.
Some people also find value in respite care as it gives them a chance to see how life works in residential aged care. While being away from home can be disruptive, having a ‘try before you buy’ attitude to thinking about the future can make the situation more fruitful.
Subsidies and the Aged Care Assessment
Subsidised aged care requires you to have an Aged Care Assessment in which a qualified health worker will determine the level of care you need. If you are eligible as a result, you can receive up to 63 days of respite care per year, depending on your circumstances, with an opportunity to extend. It’s a great deal so you may as well make the most of it if you can.
Accessing financial support
If you require government assistance to help cover the costs of care, you will first need to register and create a ‘client record’ at the Government’s MyAgedCare site, or by calling 1800 200 422.
See more about the Aged Care Assessment
I’m eligible for respite - what now?
Once you receive your approval letter:
- Find a residential respite care provider
It’s important to find the right place for you, as every home is different. You can find residential respite care providers by using the DailyCare search.
- Apply for a place
Once you’ve found a home you’re happy with that suits your time frames and needs, you can apply for a place for the length of your stay.
You will need to formalise the arrangement in the form of a resident respite agreement.
What’s in the resident respite agreement?
Your resident respite agreement is a legal agreement between you and your residential respite care provider. It includes:
Care and support services
What care and services the aged care home will provide to you.
How much your care will cost, which may include:
The basic daily fee
Additional services fees for any additional services that you have agreed to receive
An extra service fee if you occupy an extra service room.
The dates you are staying
The agreed start and end date of your short-term stay.
Rights and responsibilities
The agreement will explain your rights and responsibilities as a resident, and the responsibilities your respite care provider has to you. It will also outline a concerns and complaints process should the need arise.
This could include policies about visitors along with anything else agreed to between you and the manager of the aged care home.
It is important to know, you cannot take leave if you are receiving residential respite services. This includes hospital leave. You will be discharged from the service upon leaving, whatever the reason may be.
Can the agreement be changed?
Yes, if agreed to by both you and the aged care home. If you wish to end your agreement, you’ll have to give notice of your intention to do so, preferably in writing.
Entering into an agreement
Once you’re happy with the terms of the agreement(s), you can ‘enter into an agreement’. This is usually done by signing the document to declare that you understand and accept it.
It is important you understand the agreement before signing as it is legally binding so showing it to a trusted family member, friend or legal professional is a good idea. If you cannot sign the resident agreement because of physical or medical problems, another person representing you can do so on your behalf. You will then get a copy of the agreement.
You may also want to get help from an advocate. You can find out more by visiting the Older Persons Advocacy Network website.
Read next: Respite care checklist