What is Respite Care? (And How Does it Work?)

Posted 20th June 2024 | 3 minute read

Written by Jesse Gramenz 

a carer with a lady in a wheelchair


Respite care is a service offered to carers to give them a short break from their caring responsibilities. The word 'respite' literally means 'a time of rest or relief'. So, a short break for a carer could be anything from a few hours during the week to a few weeks during the year.

Where can I get respite care?

You'll typically hear the term 'respite care' in disability care, aged care or in-home care settings.

But no matter the context, if you're a carer looking after your mum, dad, brother, sister or children, there's an opportunity to get support so you can refresh and recharge.

Because everybody needs a break eventually.

Read on:

Why it's ok (and even a great idea) to take a break

Caring for family members is an incredibly difficult job:

  • It creates physical and psychological strain (especially when you're caring for a person with dementia)
  • You're stressed out by seeing your loved one in pain
  • You're stressed with the constant monitoring you have to do

And because of this, you're actually more likely to be depressed or distressed. And your family relationships are likely to suffer as a result.

Give yourself a break

There’s nothing wrong with needing a break from the people we care for. In fact, some time away from each other can be incredibly healthy. 

Regular breaks for carers can ensure they are better able to continue to provide quality care over the long term. 

For families, respite care can help improve the health and wellbeing of the family unit.

Respite care for older people

At St Vincent's Care, we specialise in the care of the elderly. So, if you need a break while care for someone that you know, there's a few different options you can choose from that can give you a break for as long as you need it.

1. Respite care at home

Carers can come to your home and offer respite care wherever you live.

Whether for an emergency or a planned break, there are endless options for respite care at home.

  • Regular nursing support over a few days
  • A carer taking out your loved one for a coffee for a few hours
  • Someone popping around to do some cleaning once during the week

How you take your break is up to you.

2. Respite care in the community

While receiving respite services at home might work best for some, for others, getting out into the community regularly, or even just for a day or two, is a must.

At Community Centres, you can receive some of the services you could at home in a more social setting.

Some of the services offered at Community Centres include:

  • Organised group activities like cards, bingo, music & entertainment and group outings
  • Clinical support including Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Occupational Therapy, Nursing services, Speech pathology
  • Counselling
  • Group exercise programs

3. Respite care in an aged care home

Going on holiday and need to make plans? Have an emergency and need someone to take care of your loved one? 

Whatever your circumstances as a carer, residential aged care can help by supporting your loved one in a safe and secure environment.

  • 24/7 care from registered nurses
  • Daily leisure and lifestyle activities
  • A support team made up of our clinical team, facility manager, lifestyle coordinators and more!
  • Spiritual and emotional support (where needed) from our pastoral care team
  • GP visits as required

Read on:

Where in Australia does St Vincent's offer respite care?

St Vincent's offers respite care across major cities and areas including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast,Toowoomba, Townsville, Sydney & Melbourne.

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.

Parting Thoughts

Respite care is something all carers should feel like they have access to. With the role of a caregiver being one of the toughest you can take on, it's crucial that time is taken to reflect, recharge or even just feel like you're still on top of life.

If you're looking to get started with St Vincent's respite care today, call us on 1800 778 767