Aged Care Advice – Understanding Respite Care

When a family member or loved one is ageing or their care needs increase beyond the control of family or friends, a popular alternative and solution, is to consider or provide respite care.

Respite care provides short-term care and relief for those who need it in their own home or in a residential aged care facility. Respite care simultaneously ensures carers or family members are able to take a short break to recharge and take care of their own wellbeing also.

To enlist the services of respite care for you or a loved one, it’s important to understand how and why this service is necessary. One might require or consider respite support in the following scenarios:

  • One may have been in hospital or have been unwell and need additional help during the recovery period.
  • A carer may be owed annual leave, have a busy period or have been unwell themselves and require additional support.
  • You or a loved one may be starting to look at moving into a residential aged care home and are considering all your options. A short-term stay is a convenient way to experience first hand an aged care homes’ respite care and determine whether it’s right before moving in permanently.

Residential aged care respite facilities are able to offer 24-hour care with trained and experienced onsite staff to support residents with multiplex or high care requirements.

When considering the possibility of transitioning yourself or a loved one into an aged care-respite facility, the process is often daunting and confusing. Ensure you understand your own or a loved one’s strengths and limitations so the right care can be provided, resulting in a happier and healthier stay.

Other points to be mindful of when choosing a reputable respite provider are:

  • Visit the provider’s location and witness the facilities in person to determine if they will assist you or your loved one’s needs both physically and mentally. Does the respite facility provide relevant services required for optimal care such carers, psychologists, transport, visiting clinical staff, podiatrists, physiotherapists, diversional therapists.
  • Research and seek out who the owners, investors or managing partners are as with learning more about the senior staff members. Take note of their experience in managing aged care facilities and catering to an individual’s needs. Read reviews, reports and recommendations. Don’t be shy to even ask for references.
  • Make yourself known to staff members who will be overseeing and managing the care of you or your loved one. Understand what the process is when one has concerns about care being given. Do you and the employee have the same care and empathy values?
  • Do you feel there’s too many residents in the facility versus number of staff? Ascertain how many residents there are. Realistically consider and question if there is sufficient staff on every shift to meet the needs of all the residents.
  • Is there a Registered Nurse or General Practitioner available onsite 24/7?
  • What services are available to correctly supply and manage medication? Are there sufficient overnight staff to manage the needs of you or your loved one? If there was a medical emergency at any given time of day, what is the process?
  • Is man’s best friend or pets allowed? What are the procedures for having a pet stay or having a pet visit?
  • Who oversees the resident’s spending money? How is it managed?
  • How safe and secure is the facility? What safety measures are in place? What internal processes are implemented to manage roaming residents?
  • What does the meal plan look like and taste like? Is it fresh and nutritious? Does it suit your or your loved one’s palette?
  • What is the monthly fee? Is it all inclusive or will there be additional out of pocket expenses?

Choosing a residential care facility can be unsettling and intimidating. It is strongly recommended to try a trusted provider for respite care first and determine how you or a loved one handles the change in environment. If you or your loved one can become settled and content, it’s a positive sign and who knows – you may like to become a permanent resident in time.