29 Dec 2020

How to find the right respite care for your child with disability

The aim of respite care is to give primary carers the opportunity to take a break from caring for their loved one so that they are able to continue to support them into the future. Respite also gives children with a disability opportunities and experiences that they would not ordinarily have while in the full-time care of the parent(s) or primary care giver.

Finding the right respite option that will suit your child and meet their complex support needs so that you can feel confident that your child is safe, happy and receiving quality care is so important. There are a number of options and types of support that can be categorised as “respite”. Here’s a quick summary.

What is respite?

Respite services and respite care can include any of the following:

  • A Support Worker comes to your home to provide in-home respite, this may be during the day or overnight
  • Centre-based day respite offers activities, outings and the opportunity to socialise for short periods during the day
  • Centre-based overnight respite at centres like Xavier Place enables your child to stay for a couple of days or longer, this is known as short term accommodation
  • Emergency respite care is an option in circumstances where the carer suddenly can’t continue in their caring role
  • Informal respite is care provided family or friends that gives you a short break

Where do I start?

Your Local Area Coordinator or Support Coordinator will be able to work with you to understand your child’s and your family’s need for respite care and the support required. They may be able to recommend providers for your consideration.

It’s always worth asking friends and personal contacts in your network whether they use respite care and whether they’d recommend a provider.

If you don’t have recommendations for respite care either from friends or personal contacts, your Support Coordinator or your Local Area Coordinator (LAC), then researching online is a great place to start. Google will bring up relevant search results based on exactly what you are looking for. For example “overnight respite for teenager with complex disability”, “disability respite centre in Brisbane” or “respite care for child with high support needs”. Try to be as specific as possible as this will return more relevant search results. From here, check the providers websites and create a short-list or make online enquiries as you go.

What questions should I ask?

Once you have a short-list of respite providers, it’s a good idea to have a simple list of questions that you ask of each of them to work out whether they’re the right provider to meet your needs. Here are some more general questions to ask for overnight respite care in a centre such as Xavier Place. You should also ask questions related to the unique needs of your child and your family.


  • How long can my child stay for?
  • How far in advance will I need to book a stay?
  • Will my child have their own bedroom?
  • Will my child have their own bathroom?
  • What is the carer to child ratio?
  • What training do your staff receive?
  • Do you operate overnight shifts?
  • Is there a Registered Nurse on-site or on call?
  • What activities will my child have the opportunity to take part in?
  • Will my child be staying with others of a similar age?
  • What safety and hygiene practices do you have in place?

Further information

For further information on Xavier Place in the Brisbane suburb of Yeerongpilly, call our team on 1800 XAVIER or visit the Xavier Place page. At Xavier Place we provide short term accommodation and respite care for children, teens and young people with complex disability and related health needs.