Respite & residential care - Fact Sheet
Respite care is an important service for
carers that allows them to attend to other activities or simply
take a break from the caring role.
After an injury, people often need support 24/7. This is very
tiring, and can be next to impossible at times. It is important to
understand that it is okay to ask for support and take breaks to
recoup your strength.
Carers often don't like to admit they need time off but respite
care allows someone else to step in and give you that break for a
few hours, a day, a week or more. It is essential to have time to
revitalize yourself so that you can go on caring for your family
Carers often feel they must be doing something "important" or
"useful" to warrant using respite - the whole point is to ensure
you get time off from being useful! Placing your loved one in
respite so you can relax by reading a magazine or going on a day
trip is just as good a reason as any.
until you feel stressed
You need regular breaks so that you remain healthy
too. Equally, most people being cared for enjoy a new face,
new conversation and new activities. Even if this is not the
case, stand up for your right to access respite. It will be good
for both of you in the long run.
Sometimes family and friends can provide some respite but other
services are available, such as government-subsidized or
commercial. For information on all types of respite, contact
your nearest Brain Injury Association.
This is when someone comes to your home and looks after your
family member while you go out and do things you can't do while
caring. If there is a charge, it will be at an hourly rate.
Day centres offer activities, companionship and stimulation for
people in need of care. They are often used on a regular basis -
perhaps a full day or a half-day each week - and some services
offer weekend care. There may be a fee per session. Most can
organize transport to and from the centre. Contact your local
council or community health service.
Residential respite care
Some residential care facilities - nursing homes and hostels -
admit people for a short stay while you have a holiday or break. In
some areas, especially smaller country towns, the local hospital
may also be able to provide this service. Nursing homes and hostels
charge standard fees. Other services range widely in cost. Some
have a sliding scale, depending on your income.
In theory, you may use these residential respite services for up
to nine weeks a year, usually in blocks of two or three weeks. It
depends on availability however, which is based on priority and
need. This is assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team. Bookings
need to be made well in advance.
This is not available in all areas so check first with a
Commonwealth Carer Respite Centre (if you are in Australia). If
emergency respite is not available, it may be important for your
peace of mind to have a backup plan. This could include family,
neighbours or a local service, but it is best discussed in
References and further information
This is an excerpt from For Those Who Care: A
Practical Guide published by BrainLink Services Ltd and
available for free download from their website. Brainlink is a
statewide service dedicated to improving the quality of life
of people affected by conditions of the brain and providing
support to their families. Visit www.brainlink.org.au