- Cancer Information
- Caring for someone with cancer
- Caring for yourself
- Taking a break (respite care)
Taking a break (respite care)
Respite care allows carers to have a break. It may be provided at home, in a residential care facility (such as an aged care facility) and, in some cases, in a hospital or palliative care unit (hospice). It can be for a couple of hours, overnight or a few days.
You can access respite care for any reason, including:
- taking time out to access health care for yourself
- visiting friends or other family members
- catching up on some sleep at home
- running errands, such as grocery shopping
- attending events, such as a school assembly or a wedding.
Some carers don’t access respite care because they feel guilty or anxious about leaving the person they are caring for. The service exists because caring can be difficult and may affect your wellbeing. By taking a break, you will probably find that you can be more effective in your caring role. It also gives the person you are caring for an opportunity to interact with other people.
Availability of respite care can vary depending on where you live. For more information, visit Carer Gateway. If you need emergency respite, call 1800 422 737.
Dr Laura Kirsten, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Nepean Cancer Care Centre, NSW; Mary Bairstow, Senior Social Worker, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Anne Booms, Nurse Practitioner – Supportive and Palliative Care, Icon Cancer Centre Midland, WA; Dr Erica Cameron-Taylor, Staff Specialist, Department of Palliative Care, Mercy Hospice, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW; Tracey Gardner, Senior Psychologist, Cancer Counselling Service, Cancer Council Queensland; Louise Good, Cancer Nurse Consultant, WA; Verity Jausnik, Senior Policy Officer, Carers Australia; David Larkin, Cancer Supportive Care Manager, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, Canberra Hospital and Health Service, ACT; Kate Martin, Consumer; John McMath, Consumer; Simone Noelker, Physiotherapist and Wellness Centre Coordinator, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, VIC; Tara Redemski, Senior Physiotherapist – Cancer Care, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Dean Rowe, Consumer; Chris Sibthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
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