Respite care providing broad relief for aged care sector

28 Oct 2019
Respite care providing broad relief for aged care sector

A new study by the Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) suggests residential respite care is effective in helping older Australians remain in their own homes for longer, spending less days in residential care, which could also translate to reducing costs of aged care. 

ROSA’s Director, Associate Professor Maria Inacio, says her team’s latest work indicates the Federal Government-subsidised residential respite care program is delivering on its aims. 

“The program looks to be benefiting both the older Australians who are accessing it and also the system as a whole,” she said. 

“We know the preference for most older Australians is to remain in their own homes for longer and the data we examined indicates respite care is helping achieve that. 

“In addition, given the high costs associated with permanent residential aged care this is likely to translate into reduced costs across the sector.” 

Respite services enable older Australians to have short stays in residential aged care homes where they can receive specialised care while also providing time off for their carer. 

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, evaluated data of more than 480-thousand Australians who were approved for respite care between 2005 and 2012. A two-year follow up period allowed researchers to assess participants’ use of permanent residential aged care after using respite care. 

“The timing of these findings is critical given the ongoing Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety,” Associate Professor Inacio said. 

“The Royal Commission is looking at what does and doesn’t work to improve aged care, so being able to provide evidence like this helps plan for investment in strategies that will make Australia’s growing aged care sector sustainable.”