Often, respite care has to be booked in quickly because of emergency or unforeseen circumstances: if your carer is suddenly indisposed, it's important to find respite care fast!
Amid stressful circumstances, it can be difficult to figure out what exactly the costs and specifics of respite care are. As with any government subsidised health service, when it's written up in jargon on an official website, it can all seem much more complicated than it really is.
To help you understand the subject, we've put together this simple guide to understanding the costs of respite care. We'll answer questions like:
- How much does respite care cost per day?
- What do those fees cover?
- How much respite care can you claim in a year?
- Is respite care the best option for me?
Our team at MACG is committed to providing our residents with the best quality respite care possible. Read on to find out more about the costs, and the services we can provide.
What is respite care?
Respite care is a temporary and non-committal form of care that we provide in our aged care homes. This is distinct from residential care, where a person lives in our communities on a day to day basis.
There are many reasons why a person might seek out respite care: they might not usually have a carer but experience circumstances where they need one temporarily, or perhaps their carer might be out of commission for a short period of time.
Aged care facilities like MACG have specific rooms set aside for respite care, to ensure as much availability as possible.
How much does respite care cost per day?
Respite care is subsidised by the Australian government, but there are still some costs attached for the person receiving care. This charge is capped by law at 85% of the single basic age pension.
The rate of the single basic age pension usually changes from year to year to keep up with rising inflation and cost of living expenses. However, at the time of this article's publication in 2020, the single basic age pension is $860.60 per fortnight. This means that, at present, respite care costs to the consumer are capped at $52.25 per day.
[content_aside]Note: The single basic age pension is a set figure, and respite care is capped at 85% of this amount. Respite care is not capped at 85% of the pension a person actually receives. This is because a pensioner's income might be affected by things like the pension supplement, the energy supplement, or by being part of a couple.[/content_aside]
What is covered by respite care fees?
All ordinary care services are provided by respite care fees. Things like:
- The dietitian approved meals that are prepared on site
- The hotel laundry service we provide
- 24 hour nursing care
- Assistance with all requirements of daily living
- Fully lifestyle program
In addition to these conventional services, MACG also partners with allied health professionals. We can organise for optometrists, geriatricians, occupational therapists, physiotherapy, podiatry, and remedial masseuses to come into our homes and provide specialist care. Unlike our other services, these allied health services are not covered by the respite care fees and must be paid out of pocket by the resident.
How much respite care can you claim in a year?
Respite care is designed to be used on a temporary basis, and there is a limit to the number of days per year that the government will subsidise a person's respite care.
The maximum ordinary amount of subsidised respite care per year per person is 63 days. However, there are exceptional circumstances that can extend the length of subsidised residential care available. If somebody does not have access to a carer then they should qualify for an additional 21 subsidised days of respite care to assist families in this time of uncertainty. This means that the total maximum amount of respite care available per year is 84 days.
If a person needs more respite care than that, and it looks as though they might require care on a permanent basis, it might be time to start looking at residential care instead.