For most types of respite care, you just contact an organisation in your local area that provides the relevant services, and talk to them about the help you need. They might conduct their own assessment of your situation so they can work out what’s best for you and the person you care for.
These assessments are usually not too formal unless the person you care for needs to have a short stay in an aged care home. If this is the case, then you will need an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT, or ACAS in Victoria) assessment.
Your doctor can refer you to an ACAT for a free assessment, or you can simply find your local ACAT and contact them to arrange your own assessment. You and the person you care for will then need to meet with the ACAT person, who will usually be a doctor, nurse, social worker or other health care professional. The person from the ACAT will usually make an appointment to visit you and the person you care for at your home.
The assessment will mostly involve talking to the ACAT person about the type of help you need, and they can give you information about the services that may be available in your local area. They may also ask your permission to talk to the doctor who looks after the person being cared for.
Once the assessment is finished, you will receive a letter to let you know:
- if you have been approved as eligible to receive government services
- what type of services you are eligible for and approved to receive, and why.
You can appeal the ACAT decision if you are not happy with your assessment outcome.
For more information, call your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 for help to find respite care services that meet your needs.
Last reviewed: October 2016