Ageing, Disability & Home Care

  • High contrast version
  • Increase the text size
  • Decrease the text size
  • Print this page


What are respite services?

Respite services provide planned short term, time-limited breaks for families and other unpaid carers of children, young people and adults with a disability - with the intention that families/carers resume care at the end of the respite period. They are services that assume the caring role during the period of respite.

Respite should be a positive experience for both the carer and the person with a disability. Services should provide positive and meaningful experiences for the person with a disability, at the same time as giving the carer a break from their usual care-giving role.

As with many services provided for people with a disability, their carers and families, respite aims to support and strengthen family relationships to keep families together.

Types of respite

  • Own home respite provides respite in the home of the person with a disability and may be for a few hours or a few days. Respite can include the support worker staying overnight with or without the carer present.
  • Host-family programs are where the person with a disability spends time in the home of a volunteer family. Host families are volunteer families who are trained to care for people with a disability, particularly children. Care is taken to match host families with the interests and background of the individual and their family.
  • Peer support is where people with a disability are supported in leisure and recreation activities that are provided by or with people of similar age and with similar interests.
  • Flexible/combination respite is provided in a range of settings. This can include care in the home of the person with a disability, with an alternative family carer, and/or provided in community settings through camps, holidays and social or recreational activities in the community.
  • Before and after school and vacation care provides before and/or after school activities and support to school children with disabilities. Some involve integration with generic programs with assistance from support workers.
  • Respite camps for teens with a disability provide meaningful recreational activities as well as providing additional supports for families and carers of teens with challenging behaviours. This program is being delivered in partnership with NSW Sport and Recreation (NSWSR). ADHC is also partnering with Muscular Dystrophy Association of New South Wales (MDANSW) to provide a respite camp program for children, young people and adults with degenerative neuromuscular disorders.
  • Centre-based respite services are provided in a house in the community where the person with a disability stays overnight or longer. Individual houses may have a specialised focus, such as children or adults, or may dedicate periods of time for a specialist focus, for example women or young adults. Centre-based respite is not provided for children younger than seven years unless the child has complex health care needs.
  • Specialist centre-based respite. We operate two specialist centre-based respite units that cater for adults and children whose primary disability is an intellectual disability and who have complex health care needs that require specialist care.
  • Emergency respite is an immediate, unplanned, time-limited response to families and carers who are unable to provide care due to an unforeseen crisis.

Target groups

Some respite services target or prioritise particular groups, for example children, people with challenging behaviour, people with fragile health and complex support needs, people living with an older carer or Aboriginal people.

Policy documents

Individual Funding

To find out more, visit the individual funding web page.

Back to: top | ADHC home page