“Respite” or “respite care” supports both the patient and carer by giving them a break from their everyday activities and responsibilities. It gives them both space and time for themselves, to pursue activities independently.
For carers, respite can mean time to do other activities that they may not have had time to do, or it gives them the opportunity to just relax, have some “me-time” and practice self-care.
What does respite care look like?
Respite care can be given by family or friends or by a respite service. It can be for a short period of time (e.g. a few hours) or a longer period of time (e.g. overnight, a weekend). It can take place at home, in the community, at a centre or in a residential care facility.
Some community organisations offer care for particular groups (e.g. activities for children or cultural groups). They may also offer activities for patients only (e.g. social events or therapy sessions), while others provide support to carers (e.g. morning teas or yoga classes).
Each organisation is different. You may need to talk to several organisations to find out what respite care they offer, what is available in your area, eligibility requirements, and whether activities offered will suit you.
Please see below some information on organisations and services that can help you to navigate the system.
Not sure where to start?
My Aged Care and the NDIS
Government services like My Aged Care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be helpful starting points when trying to find the right organisation to support you with respite care.
They have organisation listings and resources on their website or you can contact them directly:
You can also contact the Australian Government’s Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 or visit
- provides practical information and advice
- helps you to get the services and support you need
- provides free counselling services over the phone
- provides free coaching to help you in your role
- lets you connect with other carers through a community forum
CCLHD’s Carer Support Unit
CCLHD’s Carer Support Unit can help and provide advice on local respite services as well.
You can reach them on 4320 5556 or find out more about this service at
You can search for and explore other websites specific to the condition or situation of the person you care for. Those websites will often have targeted information.
Respite care in an emergency
If you are a carer and find that you unexpectedly can’t provide the care you usually do due to an unfortunate circumstance like illness or injury, you may be able to access emergency respite care.
If you need emergency respite care, please call the Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 to discuss your options.
TIP: It is also a good idea to make an Emergency Care Plan, in case someone else needs to suddenly take over your caring role. You can find out more about this below: