What is residential respite care?
Respite care is a short-term care arrangement where an older person is temporarily cared for by a person or facility who is not their regular carer. It can take place in your own home with the help of Community Care services, or in a residential aged care home.
Residential respite care enables people to stay for a short time in an aged care facility, on a funded break. The need for respite care might arise if your carer needs a break from their care role, or if they need to attend to everyday activities or go on holidays. It might also arise if you need extra or more in-depth care than what you currently have available in your home.
Respite care is a great way to give carers a much-needed break, and for you to experience what life inside an aged care facility is really like. There are many benefits to respite care – such as these.
It gives your carer a break
Directly caring for another person’s needs can be draining and can take a toll on your carer, no matter how much they care about you. It’s quite common for carers to feel overwhelmed when caring for a loved one, despite how fulfilling it can be. Like everything else, it’s wise for your carer to take a break when they start to feel this way. Even if they don’t feel overwhelmed, carers often need to take care of other needs or projects occasionally, or to go away on holiday. That’s where respite care comes in, as it allows your carer to take a much-needed break without having to worry about you, knowing that you will be supported and cared for by the facility’s staff.
It can help you recover and re-gain your health
Respite care is an extremely useful and practical solution if you are returning home from a stay in hospital or are recovering from an illness or injury. Respite care provides a bridge between the higher level of care you receive in hospital and being back on your own again. It will give you the 24-hour support your need to recuperate thoroughly and get back on your feet, so that you can transition back home when you’re ready. You can just concentrate on your recovery, rather than worrying about the day-to-day tasks you would normally have to deal with.
It allows you to trial life in an aged care facility
What’s more, respite care serves a further purpose of allowing you to experience exactly what life inside an aged care facility would be like. For many people, leaving their home and moving into residential aged care can be an emotional and difficult decision. This choice can be made much easier if you know what to expect, and if you’re happy with the lifestyle inside the facility.
Respite care is almost like ‘try before you buy’ – as you’ll get a much better sense of the standard of care, as well as the staff, other residents, activities and meals. You may decide that this is the place for you, or you may also decide that you want to keep looking. Either way, it’s a great option to help you make an informed decision, so is well worth considering if you or your carers have a need for respite care.
It gives you a change
As well, respite care can be a welcome change from the monotony of life. The world can shrink for many older people, as loved ones and friends pass on, or ill health or mobility issues set in. Many older people can find themselves confined to their homes for the majority of the time, and stuck in the same patterns of living and being. Moving to a place with more company, more activities and a different environment can enliven and invigorate you, and allow you to broaden your horizons. In some cases, a change is almost as good as a holiday – and trying new things is good for you, too.
How do I apply for respite care?
If you are looking for respite care, you need to apply in the same way as if you were applying for permanent residential care. Your eligibility must be assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT, in NSW) or Aged Care Assessment Services (ACAS, in Victoria). You can find out more on their website.
You will need to have an ACAT assessment before accessing residential respite care in an aged care home, and your needs will be considered in light of the availability of help in your area.
For emergency respite care, call your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222during business hours, or call 1800 059 059 outside business hours.
How long is respite care available?
Residential respite care of up to 63 days each financial year can be accessed on a planned or emergency basis, if your carers need a break or are unable to care for you for some reason, if you would like a break from caring for yourself, or if your level of care required is higher for a short period of time. You can extend this time in lots of 21 days by contacting your local ACAT service.
What services can I access during my respite care?
Depending on your needs, an aged care home may provide a range of services and care such as you would receive if you were a permanent resident of the home. These may include:
- Registered nurse and on-call doctor 24 hours a day, plus staff on the floor 24 hours
- Freshly cooked meals that cater for specific dietary requirements/conditions/allergies
- A wide range of activities, including church services for all religions and visiting ministers
- Visiting health services, including hairdresser, podiatrist and dentist
- In-house laundering and ironing
To find out more about Finley Regional Care’s respite care services, give us a call on (02) 5504 6508 or contact us here.