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What is respite care or short stay care?

What is respite care or short term (short stay) care in New Zealand?

Respite is a short-term or temporary care option that provides a break for carers, as no matter how strong and capable a carer is, they need regular time out to recharge their physical and mental batteries.

Respite care is usually provided in a rest home or other residential care facility. It is accessed via an assessment approved by your NASC/older person’s service.

Usually, you are allocated a set number of days, which will vary based on a person’s situation; this could be for a single night or for a few weeks. Note – respite care cannot be used for convalescent care or when you or someone you are caring for are unwell. It is temporary care designed to give carers a break while still ensuring the needs of the older person are taken care of.  

You may be able to arrange a booking in advance, although this will depend on the availability of respite care in your region. In some parts of the country, there is a high demand so it pays to have a shortlist of care homes that offer respite so that you have a few options when respite care is needed. Find residential care homes in your area on the Eldernet Residential Care website - once you choose the region you live in from the drop-down menu, you will be able to filter for facilities that offer ‘Respite, Carer Support or other Short Stay'.

Payment for respite care is organised via your NASC/older person’s service; this is usually subsidised, although you may be asked to pay an additional top-up to cover the full cost of the service.

Updated: 11 Jun 2024
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