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Respite care fees in Australia

Residential respite costs | In-home & community respite costs

Posted 3rd August 2023  |  Reviewed by Julie Dymock MBA-HM & Michelle Mitri  |  6 minute read

Costs in aged care can get complicated. Let's work out how much you can expect to pay for respite care whether that's in an aged care home, in your own home, or out in the community.


a carer sitting at a laptop stressing about money and costs

 


Residential respite costs and fees

What is residential respite?

Residential respite care is a type of support service that gives a temporary break to families or caregivers who are looking after an elderly person. This type of respite takes place in an aged care home.

 

The duration of residential respite can vary depending on the needs of the caregiver and the availability of services, but a residential respite stay is usually in the range of 2 – 6 weeks with an average respite stay in Australia being 3 weeks. 



The types of fees in residential respite

In total, there are 3 types of fees you might come across when it comes to residential respite: 



Residential Respite Fees everyone pays 


Residential Respite Fees you might also pay 

 

Basic Daily Care Fee 

Booking Fee (like a deposit) 

Additional Services Fee 


 

  1. Basic Daily Care Fee 

This fee helps pay for your day-to-day services such as meals, cleaning, facilities management, and laundry. 

It also pays for items such as: 

  • Main meals as well as morning and afternoon tea 
  • 24/7 nursing care 

  • Private room with ensuite 

  • In house activities from lifestyle teams 

  • Group physiotherapy activities 


The Basic Daily Care Fee is calculated at 85% of the single person rate of the basic age pension. To claim this, you’ll need to get an ACAT assessment from My Aged Care. 

 

Booking Fee 

This fee is charged by some care facilities or services to reserve a specific time slot or period of respite care. It's a way for the facility to ensure that the booking time you want will be available when you need it.

 

  1. Additional/Extra Services Fee 

This fee typically refers to costs associated with optional, non-clinical services that go beyond the standard care level provided. These could include services like: 

 

  • More diverse meal choices, or special dietary options. 

  • Extra allied health options (e.g. Personal physio visits) 

  • Access to pay TV, internet, or newspapers. 

  • Special outings, entertainment, or social activities. 

  • Enhanced room features, like private rooms or enhanced furnishings. 

  • Personal services like hairdressing, beauty therapy, or alternative therapies. 

  • Any other comfort and lifestyle enhancements not covered in the basic fee. 


An example of fees in a residential respite stay

Glenda’s recovery in residential respite 

Take Glenda for example. Glenda has just had a knee replacement. Her daughter Jodie can’t care for her properly at home while Glenda is on the mend for her knee, because needs a high level of support. 

Here’s what a near three week stay in residential respite might look like for Glenda: 

 


Fee Type 

Cost 

Duration

Total 

Basic Daily Care Fee 

$58.98/day* 

20 days 

$1,179.60 

Booking Fee (refunded in daily fees) 

$411.86 (7 days of basic daily fee, assuming it's the lower value) 

One-time fee 

$0 (as it gets deducted from daily fees) 

Extra Services Fee (e.g., Special meals, Wi-Fi, Higher-quality linens) 

$15/day 

20 days 

$300.00 

Total




$1,479.60 

The maximum basic daily fee for all aged care residents is 85% of the single basic Aged Pension daily payment. The example amounts in this table are for illustrative purposes only* 

 

 

6 tips for saving yourself money, time and stress with Residential Respite Care 

  1. Save hundreds of dollars by getting an ACAT assessment for residential respite. For example, respite care at St Vincent’s without an ACAT is $275 a day as opposed to $58.98*. 
  1. If you’re looking to transition to aged care from respite, using 4 weeks of respite care can be a great opportunity to sort out any paperwork and help your loved one get settled.

  1. Try before you buy. Using your respite days can be a great chance to save yourself money and hassle by settling in and seeing if the aged care home is right for you. 

  1. Book respite well in advance and check that the provider has a bookable respite room (not all do). 

  1. Pay for your residential respite with a Home Care Package (if you have one). Even if you’re about to move into aged care, you can still use your remaining Home Care Package money to pay for the transition. 

  1. If you are getting an ACAT and are thinking of moving into aged care permanently after respite, make sure you tell you Aged Care Assessment Team so they can assess you properly for that.  


 

Get started with residential respite 

To get started with residential respite, go to the My Aged Care website and apply for an ACAT assessment to make sure you’re getting the proper care and support you need. 


In-home respite and community costs & fees

What is in-home respite care?

In-home respite care is a service that allows a caregiver temporary relief from their caregiving duties, while ensuring that the person who requires care can still remain in the comfort of their own home. 

 

The specific services provided by in-home respite care can vary, but often include: 


  1. Personal care: such as help with bathing, dressing, toileting, and eating. 

  1. Household chores: help with cleaning, laundry, shopping, and meal preparation. 

  1. Companionship: providing company, conversation, and emotional support. 

  1. Medication management: ensuring medication is taken athe right times. 

  1. Mobility assistance: help with moving around the home, getting in and out of bed, etc. 

  1. Nursing care: in some cases, a registered nurse may provide medical care, such as wound care, injections, or other treatments. 

 

What is community respite care? 

Community respite care is like residential and in-home respite care because they give carers a break from their duties as a carerThe main changes with community respite care is where the respite takes place and the amount of time you can use the respite for. 

 

Two good examples of community respite are: 

 

  • Overnight stay in a cottage-style setting 

  • A few hours up to a day in a respite care centre, day centre, or even an aged care home where meals and activities are provided 

 

 

What fees will I need to pay for in-home & community respite? 

 

Each provider of in-home & community respite will have different fees and charges. It’s important you look around for the provider that best suits you and your budget. 

 

However, costs for respite at home and in the community can be subsidized for you by a program called the Commonwealth Home Support Program or ‘CHSP’ for short. 

 

 

 

What is the Commonwealth Home Support Program? 

 

According to the My Aged Care websiteThe Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) helps older Australians access entry-level support services to live independently and safely at home.” 

 

To take advantage of CHSP, you’ll need to apply for support through My Aged Care 

 

The important part to note about respite with CHSP is that it is ‘entry level’. For more complex and ongoing care needs you can apply for a Home Care Package. 



 

Examples of fees for in-home respite with CHSP 

 

Greg’s day of respite care 

Take Greg for example. He’s fairly independent, but while his carer and daughter Jodie is away on a school trip with the kids, Greg needs a bit of help around the house and needs transport to and from the shops for the day. 

 

Here’s what the cost of a respite day at home might look like for Greg: 

 


Service 

Rate ($) 

Quantity 

Total ($) 

Domestic assistance 

13.75 

1 (hour)

13.75 

Meals (In-home) 

11.25 

2 (meals)

22.50 

Transport - up to 15 km 

7.75 

2 (trips)

15.50 

Total for a Respite Day 





51.75 

An example day of out-of-pocket CHSP respite costs (after subsidies) foan elderly person receiving respite care 

 

 

Parting thoughts 

Aged costs are complicated, and respite can be no different. However, the most important first step you can take is to get an ACAT assessment done 

By taking this process one step at a time, you can be just a little bit closer to feeling confident and prepared for whenever you need a break as a carer without stressing the financials. 


Find respite care with St Vincent's

St Vincent's offers respite care across major cities and areas including BrisbaneGold CoastSunshine CoastToowoombaTownsvilleSydneyMelbourne.

From respite services in our aged care homes to respite support in your home, we can support you when you need a break as a caregiver.

aged care staff with residents on balcony

 

Still not sure where to start? 

St Vincent’s has a dedicated contact centre team that can help put you in the right direction with getting started with respite including: 

 

  • Helping you navigate My Aged Care 

  • Giving you clarity on the next steps you need to take to get the break you need (and deserve) 

  • Talking through your options for care and putting you in touch with the aged care and home care experts who work with other people who have gone through the exact same thing you ar