How long can someone stay in respite care?

December 3, 2023    |    By Madeeha Usman    |    9 min read
How long can someone stay in respite care

It's been a long week caring for your loved one; you are tired. However, what can you do? That was the question in your mind. This scenario happens so much when it comes to caring for a loved one, either an older relative or a disabled one. You need rest, yes, that won't get you agitated and wondering if your loved one is in good hands. 

Respite care is one of the support services provided by NDIS. It was created to provide a resting and rejuvenating period for the carer and the one being cared for. As little as a few hours or as long as a few days, respite care lets workers take necessary breaks. This can be planned for when carers want to take a trip, but it can also be used in an emergency. Respite care is something that most carers know about. But for how long can someone stay in respite? Find out how long a respite stay lasts in nursing homes, at home, or in the neighbourhood.

Overview of respite care

Respite is a situation whereby someone else takes care of the person you generally care for while you take a break. Respite care gives the person caring for someone and the person caring for them a planned rest. It's good for both of you to let someone else care for you for a few hours or days. Carers sometimes feel weary and physically drained. They need to take a break so they can be better carers.

Respite care is also good for the people who get it, like kids or adults with disabilities, people with mental illness or dementia, or older people who are just plain weak. Because of it, they can meet new people, try new things, and have fun. Respite care gives workers and the people they care for a short break. If you care for someone, you can use respite care to take a break and relax or take care of personal things. You can also use it to go on vacation for a few days or a few weeks.

Most of the time, respite care is planned, but you can get emergency respite care if you get sick or can't care for someone immediately. There are places in the community, a rest cottage, or an aged care residential home where you can get respite care. You will need to be evaluated to get respite services that are partially or fully paid for by the government.

How do I access respite care?

You may need to be evaluated first for some types of respite care. Assessments help you determine what kind of help you need and what services you can get. Get in touch with a group in your area that offers the care you need for most types of care. Check to see if there is a spot for you. The Department of Veterans Affairs may be able to help you get temporary care if you have a gold or white veteran card.

People above 65 years old

You need to fill out the assessment form and wait for feedback. After that, you will meet with a judge. Most of the time, they will set up a time to come to your house. A person from a Regional Assessment Service (RAS) will meet with you if the information you give them shows that you only need a low amount of care. If you need more care, you will have a more in-depth review with a doctor, nurse, social worker, or other health care professional.

You will mainly be asked about the kind of help you need during the assessment. What services might be offered in your area? The assessor can tell you about them. Also, they might ask for permission to talk to the doctors who are taking care of you. You will get a letter informing you the following when the test is over:

  • If you can get help from the government
  • Find out what kinds of things you can get

If you don't like how your review turned out, you can ask the ACAT to reassess you.

People younger than 65 years old

You can use your National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) package to pay for temporary care if you are under 65. Speaking with your Local Area Coordinator about adding respite to the box is essential. You should also look into the services in your area.

How long does respite care last?

Depending on the situation, respite care can last a few hours to weeks. But most programmes offering respite care last about two weeks on average. Based on statistics, the average length of a respite care stay could be anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. According to a study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the average length of time in residential respite care in Australia during 2018–19 was about two weeks. Still, this time frame can change a lot depending on the specifics of each person's case.

However, in Australia, the government pays for up to 63 days of respite care every fiscal year. This means families can leave their loved ones in a safe and caring place like Care Assure while taking care of other things, relaxing, or having a break. This ensures the older adult gets good care and helps the family members' mental and emotional health.

What will happen after 63 days?

If an ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) decides that your need for more care is complicated and ongoing, they may be able to give you more days. If more days aren't given, care after 63 days may be paid for individually. Depending on the provider, the difference in private funds could mean paying anywhere from $60 to $200 a day for respite care. If you need more than 63 days of respite, consider longer-term care choices like home and residential respite care. Talk to your respite care provider about your options to ensure you get care that doesn't stop.

Factors that affect how long respite care lasts

A study in the "Journal of Ageing and Health" found that most stays in respite care were short-term, lasting less than 30 days. However, some respite care could last up to 90 days if the carers have severe personal or health problems. Several things affect how long someone can stay in respite care:

  • The person's care needs: If the person needs a lot of care, the respite care time may need longer.
  • How available the carer is: The length of the respite care time will depend on how open the primary carer is.
  • Funds available: Respite care can be paid privately, through health insurance, or government programmes. The time a person can stay in respite care will depend on the available funding.

Different options for respite care 

While in respite care, the amount of time they stay can change based on their needs and circumstances. Respite care generally lasts from a few hours to weeks or months. For different lengths of time, people may stay in respite care because of the following:

Short term respite care 

Usually, short-term respite care lasts for a few hours or days. This kind of care is often used to give carers a break so they can do other things, take care of their health and well-being, or go on vacation for a short time. Short-term respite care can also help people through times of change, like when they are coming home from the hospital or changing their medications.

Medium-term respite care

Medium-term respite care is usually given for a few weeks to a few months. This kind of care can be used when the carer needs a long break, like when they are sick or hurt and need to heal, or when they need to take care of other family or work obligations.

Long-term respite care

People usually get long-term respite care for several months to a year or more. When a carer needs a long break, like when they have a long-term illness or have work or family duties that require them to leave their main home often or for extended amounts of time, this type of respite care can be used. Someone may also need long-term respite care if they just found out they require ongoing maintenance, and their family needs time to figure out how to help them.

Why do people look for respite care?

Respite care is a good time for the carer and the person being looked for.

Carers can get respite care

Carers must take a break to give the best care possible when they are mentally and physically worn out. A short break can do great things for a caregiver's mental health. It gives them a chance to recharge while knowing that the person they care for is being cared for in a pleasant and friendly place.

People being taken care of  

Respite care isn't just there to help carers; it's also meant to be a fun activity that breaks up the pattern and gives people new things to try. Going to respite care is suitable for older people because it gives them a break and lets them meet new people and try new things. Respite care can be fun, and it can be nice to get away for a while.

Care for people with dementia 

Many changes can happen in a person's personality and thinking. The dementia and Alzheimer's patients we take care of gain from our careful, dedicated, and experienced care.


For respite care to be as beneficial as possible, the individual's requirements, preferences, and daily routines must be communicated effectively with the care provider. While the primary carer is out of the house, this can ensure the person in care is still comfortable and safe. Rest assured that our team at Care Assure is committed to delivering top-notch respite care services, ensuring everyone feels comfortable and well-cared for. The length of respite care is tailored to suit the needs of the individual receiving care and their primary carer.

Finally, carers can get the respite they need with respite care, and its duration can be adjusted to suit individual needs and situations. It is a flexible and temporary solution. Please contact the Care Assure staff at your earliest convenience if you have questions regarding respite care or want additional information.

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