Life is full of surprises, and sometimes these surprises can impact the primary carers of older Australians. So what happens when a carer needs to take unexpected time off from their duties? The person receiving care is not expected to manage alone — they can access emergency respite care.
At MACG, we offer emergency respite care services to act as support when carers need to attend to an urgent situation. Talk to our admissions team to find out how to access these supports.
What counts as an 'emergency'?
Situations where a carer may need to take unexpected time off from usual caring duties include:
- Death of a loved one
- Major illness resulting in hospital or bed rest
- Family problems or mental illness
What does emergency respite care involve?
Emergency respite care can be broken into two different categories according to a person's ability to live independently. If a person receiving support from a primary carer has reasonable freedom of movement, and only requires assistance with a few daily activities, they can access community respite care.
But, if a person has limited mobility and functionality living unassisted in their home, they will need to stay in residential respite care for a short period.
Residential respite care services
Registered aged care providers offer residential respite care services which incorporate allied health services, nursing staff, and support from 24/7 care teams. If a person needs to stay in an aged care residence for emergency respite care, they can expect daily life to look something like this:
- Wake up and receive help administering medicines
- Eat dietitian-certified meals cooked on-site
- Care teams will make the bed and ensure the room looks clean and homely
- Spend time connecting with other residents and staff by attending the many lifestyle program activities on offer
While accessing emergency respite care may seem daunting, especially since (by nature) it is unexpected, many people find these services comforting and enjoyable. Respite care gives older Australians who live independently a chance to experience life inside an aged care residence, and the opportunity to connect with a diverse range of people.
How to access emergency respite care
If you need to access emergency respite care, or organise emergency respite care for a person you care for, you'll need to call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. An assessor will ensure your needs meet the criteria for respite care, and determine which supports you will need.
Alternatively, the aged care provider can assist you if placing your loved one requires some urgency. They can contact the assessment team and have them urgently assess your loved one if they are unable to be on their own safely.
From there, you can choose a respite care provider of your preference. There are hundreds of providers to choose from, which makes it difficult to make a decision. While you may be in a rush to access respite care, it's important to make an informed decision. When speaking to an aged care provider, make sure you ask questions like:
- What's the food like?
- Are there registered nurses available on-site?
- How big is my room?
- What amenities are available?
While speaking with staff on the phone, or in person, gauge their reactions to see if they are warm and friendly as they show you around a home. Assess the other residents — do they look happy? Are people talking to one another?
Planning for emergencies
Create an emergency care plan to avoid the rush of organising emergency respite care if, or when, urgent situations occur. An emergency care plan has all the information about the person you care for in one convenient place, so you and those taking over care duties from you, can access it easily.
Your emergency care plan should include:
- Personal information about you and the person you care for
- Details of emergency contacts
- Medical history
- List of medicine needed, and how and when they should be administered
- Day-to-day care needs including what the person usually eats and drinks
- List of regular support services, including appointment dates, times, and locations
You can download an emergency care plan template to fill out from the government's Carer Gateway resource.
Why choose Medical Aged Care Group?
We have purposely designed our homes with fewer beds so that we can provide higher quality care. Each home has its own community signature, created by the residents who live there.
Our emergency respite care services include:
- Laundry/hotel services
- 24-hour staffing with qualified care teams (including Registered Nurses)
- Allied health services, at an additional cost
- Delicious, dietitian-certified meals cooked on-site by our catering teams
- Rich lifestyle programs including seated Tai Chi, gardening and horticultural programs, walking groups, baking groups, sensory programs, and meditation