Original Study| Volume 21, ISSUE 5, P653-659.e2, May 2020

Residential Respite Care Use Is Associated With Fewer Overall Days in Residential Aged Care

Published:October 23, 2019DOI:



      To examine the use of residential respite care and determine associations between respite care and total days spent in residential care (respite days plus long-term care days).


      A retrospective cohort study of individuals accessing aged care services in Australia using the National Historical Cohort of the Registry of Senior Australians was conducted.


      Residential respite care (short stays in residential aged care homes) and long-term residential care accessed in all government-subsidized residential aged care homes in Australia.


      This study included people who were approved for government-subsidized residential respite care between January 2005 and June 2012 (n = 480,862) and included a 2-year follow-up period.


      Poisson regression models were used to examine associations between use of residential respite care and number of days spent in residential care.


      Of people approved for residential respite care, 36.9% used their approval within 12 months (32.0% used respite once and went directly to long-term care without returning home, 40.7% used respite once and did not go directly to long-term care, and 27.3% used respite ≥2 times). Compared with people who did not use respite care, using respite care once and not going directly to long-term care was associated with less total days in residential care [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.68, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.67-0.69; P < .001] and using respite care ≥2 times was also associated with fewer days (IRR 0.86, 95% CI 0.84-0.87, P < .001). Using respite care once and going directly to long-term care was associated with more days in residential care (IRR 1.11, 95% CI 1.10-1.12, P < .001).

      Conclusions and Implications

      Using residential respite care was associated with fewer days spent in residential care when people returned home after using respite. The findings suggest that using residential respite as intended by returning home after use achieves the goal of helping people stay living at home longer.


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