What is respite care?
Respite care services enable families caring for a person with a physical, intellectual or neurological disability, ABI (Acquired Brain Injury) or sensory impairment, to have a break from the demands of caring for that person. These services also provide a positive experience for the person with disability.
Respite care can be provided by trained care givers in the family home, the care giver’s home, community residential facilities, or through school holiday programs, camps and other recreational activities.
Respite care can be available for a few hours, overnight, a weekend or a few weeks. It can also be available in an emergency or on a planned regular basis.
Who can use respite care?
All families caring for a person with disability can use respite care.
Why the need for respite care?
Families caring for children or adults with disability may need time for themselves for:
- Shopping, paying bills and other errands
- Pursing interests and hobbies
- Reading, relaxing or catching up on sleep
- Having a break from the carer’s role
- Having a holiday or a night out
- Spending time with partners, friends or other family members
For a family caring for a relative with disability, the demands of caring can be greater than for other families. Parents, brothers and sisters of a person with disability need the same opportunities for relaxation as anyone else. Yet these families often have difficulty finding someone to care for their relative while they have time out, spend time with other children, or carry out other responsibilities. That’s why respite care is organised – so people can have a break.
Does a person with disability benefit from respite care?
A person with disability often has fewer social and recreational opportunities than a person without disability. Respite care offers time for people with disability to enjoy the company of other young people as well as opportunities to learn and develop their abilities.
Emergency Respite: Unplanned or emergency care when you are unable to provide immediate care.
Residential Respite: Overnight or longer stay in respite houses specifically built, equipped and staffed to temporarily accommodate people with disability. This may be a unit, house or other form of supported accommodation.
In Home Services: Services provided in the home of the person with disability, usually for a few hours but can sometimes be arranged overnight or longer. A trained carer will come and look after the person you care for in your own home. Some councils, nursing services, specialist providers and private attendant care agencies, provide in home support.
Flexible Respite: Flexible respite services are brokered to suit the individual needs of the family. It could mean respite in the home, or in the community, recreation activities or holidays.
Community Care is a website which provides information about respite services as well as a wide range of other health and community service providers within different municipalities around Victoria.
Commonwealth Carelink Centres are information centres for older people, people with disability and those who provide care and services. Centres provide free and confidential information on community aged care, disability and other support services available locally, interstate or anywhere within Australia.
About the Commonwealth Carelink Centre Program
How can a Commonwealth Carelink Centre help me?
There are a wide range of services to support independent living in the community, but finding out about them or accessing them can be time consuming, difficult and confusing. Commonwealth Carelink Centres provide a single point, nationally, for anyone to access this information quickly. The Centres can also assist with information about costs for services, assessment processes and eligibility criteria.
Each Commonwealth Carelink Centre has extensive regional networks and maintains comprehensive databases containing community aged care, disability and other support services. Shopfronts are operated by organisations that already provide established services within their region. Their extensive local knowledge ensures they provide a quality service. This regional focus enables each Centre to develop an awareness of the entire range of services available, to establish networks with local providers and ensure information is up to date.
What information can I get?
If you require information outside your local area, Centre staff can link you to other Commonwealth Carelink Centres around Australia and they in turn will provide accurate information about services in their local area. The network of Commonwealth Carelink Centres can provide information on services available in every town and city in Australia.
Centres provide information on many types of assistance, from personal care and domestic help to accommodation in nursing homes and hostels. Your local Centre can also let you know which services are available in your area. All information is free of charge and provided in confidence.
Information is available in 16 community languages other than English and information is available for Indigenous and vision impaired clients.
How to contact my nearest Centre?
You can call your nearest Centre using Freecall™ 1800 052 222*. Deaf, hearing impaired or speech impaired callers may call through the National Relay Service using their modem or TTY by dialling 1800 555 677 then asking for 1800 052 222. Speech impaired callers may also call through Speech-to-Speech Relay by dialling
1800 555 727 then asking for 1800 052 222.
Local Governments also provide respite services as well as many community organizations.
Respite Services in Metropolitan Melbourne
Refer to the websites below for Metropolitan Melbourne to access information about respite services:
Southern Metropolitan Disability Respite Network
Respite North & West
Respite Services in Regional Victoria
For information about respite services in Regional Victoria Call their toll free number on 1800 052 222 or go to their website .
We would like to acknowledge that this information was sourced from the Commonwealth Carelink Centre website (Australian Gervernment Department Health and Ageing).
This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations under the National Disability Coordination Officer Program. The views expressed in these materials are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.