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Types of respite

Respite care can be given informally by family, neighbours and friends, or it can be provided by formal respite services.

There are many different types of formal respite services, and the type you choose depends on your situation and the services available in your area.

The Commonwealth Home Support Programme provides Government-subsidised access to a variety of respite services.

In-home respite

In-home respite means the person who provides the respite care comes to the home where you care for the person who needs it. This type of respite care can happen during the day or overnight.

Centre-based day respite

Centre-based day respite usually takes place at a day centre or club. It offers activities and outings for the person, and gives them the opportunity to socialise with other people in a safe environment.

Day respite often runs from 10am to 3pm, and may include transporting the person you care for to and from the centre.

Overnight or weekend respite

This type of respite may be provided in a variety of settings such as the home of a host family, or in a respite ‘cottage-style’ house.

Community access respite

Community access respite offers individual or group activities designed to give the person a social experience to develop, maintain or support independent living. It may be provided during the day or in an overnight setting.

Residential respite care

If the person you care for needs help every day, then you may consider residential respite care. This involves a short stay in an aged care home while you have a break for a few days or longer. Residential respite care can be planned or can happen in an emergency. Organising this type of respite care is a bit different to organising other types. To find out more, visit short stays in aged care homes.

Emergency respite care

You may need emergency respite if you suddenly can’t continue in your caring role for a little while. For example, you may be unwell or need to go to hospital.

If you need emergency respite care call the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 during business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30am-5pm) or 1800 059 059 outside business hours.

Transition care

Transition care is for people who have been in hospital and are ready to be discharged, but who still need more help than usual. Transition care provides short-term care that is focused on particular therapies such as physiotherapy (exercises, mobility, strength and balance), occupational therapy (help to recover or maintain your physical ability), speech therapy, using the services of a dietitian (nutrition assessment, food and nutrition advice, dietary changes) and podiatry (foot care), as well as counselling and social work.

Last reviewed: October 2016

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