Introduction to Respite

OC Connections Community Living Service provides respite for short to medium term periods for people aged over 18 living with a disability. Respite is provided in our Accommodation Service for the purposes of:

  • Supporting and maintaining the primary caregiving relationship;
  • Providing a positive experience for the person receiving care;
  • Providing temporary relief to both family members and other persons whom a person with a disability may be living with;
  • Providing the carer with the opportunity to perhaps have a holiday themselves, or recover from surgery or a medical condition, or just have a break from their usual care arrangements.
  • Offering new experiences, new conversations and a change of scenery.

Even though many families take great joy in providing care to the person they support so that they can remain at home, the physical, emotional and financial consequences for the family caregiver can be overwhelming without additional support such as respite. After the period of respite, the person will return to their usual care arrangements.

This package aims to provide you with information about the services that are offered by OC Connections, in particular by the Respite Service.

The information package does not cover all aspects of the Respite Service; therefore, if you wish to know something that is not covered within this package, please contact the Respite Manager who is based at 9 Allen Street.

Telephone – 9569 0603

You are encouraged to read this information prior making your decision to access our respite service.


Referral to the Respite Service may be made by anyone involved with the person by contacting the Manager – 9 Allen Street.
Information regarding the person and/or carer who is seeking respite will be collated by the Respite Manager in consultation with the relevant family/caregiver. The Respite Service is available to persons accessing OC Connections’ Services, other external services, and by persons registered with the Department of Human Services.

Application Process

The application process consists of the following:

Once contact is made to the Respite Manager, the potential respite user will be invited to attend 9 Allen Street with their family/carer.

General information will be gathered by the Respite Manager to ensure that the respite service will best meet the needs of the potential user.

If the applicant is deemed suitable and chooses to access respite, the Manager will provide the family /carer with relevant forms and documents which must be completed by the individual prior to accessing respite. It is important to note that detailed information will assist in ensuring a positive experience for the individual.

Not every individual seeking respite will either be considered eligible or will wish to continue with the referral. If this is the case, the Community Living Manager will provide an explanation regarding non-eligibility and information regarding other possible respite opportunities.

Documents provided by the OC Connections for completion by the family/carer

A Confirmation Package will be sent to the individual and family/carer for completion. This must be returned to the Manager prior to Respite commencing. The package will include:

  •  A confirmation letter stating dates that respite will be accessed by the individual;
  • Individual Profile to ensure that current and up to date information is provided regarding the individual to ensure that staff can meet duty of care requirements, and provide a positive experience whilst in respite;
  • Medication Authority Forms to ensure that the individual receives the appropriate medication whilst in the care of the Respite Service;
  • Things you need to know about me which focuses on the individual’s likes and dislikes, communication needs, mobility requirements, etc.;
  • A clothing list will be provided to detail what the person brings to respite. Please note all items must be clearly labelled. The Respite Service does not take responsibility of unlabelled clothing.

Documents to be provided by the family/carer
The family/carer is responsible for providing the following current documents:

  • Medicare Card
  • Pension Card
  • Taxi Card
  • Companion Card
  • Passport Photo
  • Behaviour Support Plan – The family/carer must report any behaviour of concern and provide a Behaviour Support Plan or relevant behaviour management strategy prior to admission. Behaviour Support Plans may need to be modified for the respite environment. The Respite Service has a responsibility to provide a safe environment for the person respite is being provided to, as well as other people living at the facility and OC Connections employees.
  • Any other plans or documented strategies to enable staff to clearly understand the person’s specific requirements and provide ongoing positive support.
    These may include:
    Health Management Plan
    Epilepsy Management Plan
    Dietary Plan
    Communication Plan

On admission, the family/caregiver are required to hand over all electrical equipment which is to be tested and tagged, as stated by our policy and procedure. OC Connections can provide these services if required at a nominal cost.

Arrival time for respite is between 2.00pm and 4.00pm, this allows for the Respite Manager to welcome the respite user and family/carer, review the Medication Authority form, and discuss the needs of the individual. Departure time is by negotiation.

Transition to Respite

Each individual referral will be assessed in accordance to the specific needs of that person.
In some situations, there may be a need for a planned transition to support the person and family/carer to adapt to the period of respite.

Transition to respite is recommended before a crisis occurs within a family. This enables the person to transition into respite to develop friendships and the feeling they are not being abandoned. It is OC Connections philosophy to support all respite users to achieve their best possible outcome while in care whilst alleviating any concerns families may have and work in partnerships with all persons involved.

The transition to respite may involve:

  • Afternoon tea for 2 afternoons close together
  •  A weekly afternoon tea and dinner tea for 2 weeks
  • If this is successful 2-afternoon teas and dinners for 2 weeks will follow.

Please note that the transition is on a case by case situation and will be developed according to each individual’s requirements.

When starting sleepover these need to be short. EXP: coming in later in the afternoon and out for day activity early.

Additional charges for this support. Refer to Fees and Charges on Page 8.

Accessing Respite

Medication Management

Permanent Medication

Respite users are required to have the same written authorisation of all medication as people living permanently in Accommodation Services. If a person presents to respite without the required written authorisation of medication and a decision is made to still provide the service, respite staff will telephone the person’s doctor to request that a copy of relevant medical information and medication be faxed or emailed to the respite service.

If this is not possible confirmation that all medications and dosages have been authorised by the doctor can be obtained verbally from the doctor or from the person’s regular pharmacist. This confirmation will need to be followed up in writing the next business day.

Any tablet medication that the respite user requires whilst accessing the service must be provided in a:

  • Blue Webster Pac for breakfast, dinner and bedtime medications
  • White Webster Pac for lunch medications

The medication provided in Webster Pacs must be current and reflect the medication documented on the Medication Authority Form.

If the family/carer is unable to provide medication in a Webster Pac scripts must be provided to the Respite Manager so that a Webster Pac can be organised by the pharmacist the OC Connections uses.

Medications that have been pre purchased must not be supplied as the pharmacist is unable to put them in the Webster Pac. The Webster Pac and medication will be an additional cost to the person accessing respite. Refer to Fees and Charges on Page 8.

PRN Medication

Prescribed PRN is the medication that can only be administered per the specific instructions of the Respite users General Practitioner. These must be provided by the respite user’s family/carer.

Any tablet medication that the respite user requires as PRN must be provided in a Red Webster Pac.

Direct support staff must contact Oakleigh OnCall to discuss the specific situation and seek guidance and advice accordingly. The administration of a PRN medication must be charted in the PRN register and recorded on the persons Progress Notes.

Behaviours of Concern

Respite users who have a Behaviour Support Plan must share this plan with the Respite Manager. The strategies outlined in the plan must be implemented if a situation warrants such action. Any interventions should occur according to the specific instructions and be clearly documented in the progress notes. If behaviours of concern present staff will first contact the family /carer, or the Oakleigh OnCall and obtain advice and guidance. OnCall is provided by the Accommodation Leadership team and operates after business hours and on weekends.

Dietary and Medical Requirements

Persons accessing respite that have restricted or specific dietary requirements, such as allergies, gluten-free products, peg fed etc., are required to provide any additional foods or drinks required by the person being supported and the reasons why and any instructions should also accompany these.
The family/carer may be requested to support training, or arrange for a competent person associated with the respite applicant to train selected staff.

Money Management

Families have several options regarding spending money being:

  • Provide spending money which will either be locked in the staff office or kept by the respite user. Any money received for use by the individual will be documented and a receipt will be given to family/caregiver upon entering respite. Upon exiting respite, any monies remaining will be returned with paperwork documenting expenses and receipts will be provided.
  • By arrangement with the Community Living Manager, any monies spent will be put on an OC Connections account. Should an account be required, this will be set up with the Finance Department.
  • A combination of the above.

Day Placement

It is the responsibility of the family/carer to ensure the person accessing respite has day placement or activities to attend during the hours of 9.30am to 3.00pm Monday to Friday. If the family/carer cannot provide a suitable day placement the respite service can provide one on one support at an additional cost. This arrangement will need to be discussed early in the referral for respite process.

Valuable Items

It is recommended that jewellery and other expensive items are not brought to the respite service. If items are brought in, we take no responsibility for items lost, stolen or damaged.

Responsibility of Respite Service

The respite service aims to provide care and support for all users for the duration of their stay.

The hours of service are:
Monday to Friday – Midnight to 11.00am – 3.00 pm to midnight
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 24 hours

  • 1 Allen Street will provide an active night staff member
  • 9 Allen Street will provide a staff sleepover between 10 pm and 8 am daily
  • The person accessing respite will be provided with three balanced meals and snacks during the day
  • Staff will administer medications through a Webster Pak
  • The person accessing respite can self-administer medication after consultation with a GP that is known by the person and the required paperwork is completed and provided for OC Connections records
  • A bed and bedside table will be provided and linen can be provided on request. If the person accessing respite has specialized requirements for bedding, these will need to be provided by the individual
  • Clothes washing facilities are available if required. Staff can assist the person to complete this task as required
  • Staff will support personal care if required; this will be assessed by staff in the first couple of days and the requirement of the person will be documented to ensure the service has accurate information

OC Connections Accommodation Service provides an after-hours on-call system which is managed by the Accommodation Leadership Team. This service operates from 5 pm through to 9 am daily and 24 hours on weekend and public holidays.

Illness and Injury

Whilst accessing respite can be unsettling for some people, we ask that we are advised if the person attending respite is unwell or has an injury that requires regular treatment prior to them entering the service. If it is deemed that the person is too unwell to access respite, alternative dates will be offered and upon a bed is available.
The family/carer will be notified as soon as practicable of any illness or injury the person sustains during respite. For non-emergencies families will be given the opportunity to assist the person to see their usual doctor, or OC Connections staff can assist them to be seen by a local GP. The family/carer will be kept informed of the outcome of any medical appointments.
Health and Safety including Aids and Equipment

It is essential that the person accessing respite has aids or equipment that are in proper working order to ensure the safety of the person, as well as other service users and staff. All items must be clearly labelled. Please ensure adequate supplies of continence aids, hearing aid batteries, etc., are provided. All equipment must have instructions to assist staff use the equipment safely and appropriately.
Fees and Charges

Payment of fees shall be on receipt of an Invoice for each booking. Payment of a 20% deposit shall be received by the respite user within 14 days of the Invoice being received from the OC Connections Finance Department. The balance of the payment will be remitted by EFT no later than 30 days prior to the commencement of each booking.
Cancellation charges do apply if the hirer cancels respite. Notice of cancellation must be in writing to the Manager, 1 Allen Street.
Cancellation fees are as follows:

  • 31 to 59 days prior to respite period – 50% of the total cost
  • 15 to 30 days prior to the respite period – 80% of the total cost
  • 0 to 14 days prior to the respite period – 100% of the total cost

OC Connections will endeavour to fill any cancelled booking of respite. If this is successful the person will receive a 90% refund of the total payment regardless of how many days notice is given.

The respite users agree that they will be liable for costs to cover any damage caused, additional cleaning and/or replacement of OC Connections items broken, end of the period of respite..

OC Connections requires a deposit of $100.00 on booking. This is refundable or taken off the bill at the end of the stay.

  • Respite fees per night $52.00 (This may increase if identified extra support needed)
  • Bed holding Fee Per night $42.00 (When the bed is not being used in a block of time)
  • Webster Pac $5.00 per week
  • Medications at chemist prices
  • Transition Fees
    – Afternoon teas a $5.00
    – Evening meal at $25.00
  • Extra staffing hours fee $30.00 Hour (If staff are required to administer medication out of hours)
  • Electrical equipment tagging if undertaken by the OC Connections $4.00 per item.
    Accounts are sent to the billing address at the end of the month. Terms are strictly 30 days

Quality Improvement

Respite users/family or cares will be asked to complete an evaluation of their stay at the OC Connections Respite Service.

Additional Contacts

Respite Manager
Phone: 9569 0603

Executive Manager, Accommodation Services
Phone: 9569 0603

Disability Services Commissioner
Phone: 1800 677 342 (free call)

Phone: 1300 728 187 (local call)
TTY: 1300 726 563

Department of Human Services – Disability Intake
Staff at DHS – Disability Intake can assist you with your inquiries and provide other important contacts.

Eastern Region: 9843 6000

Southern Region: 9213 2111
The Office of the Public Advocate

The Public Advocate is appointed as part of the Guardianship and Administration Act. The Public Advocate can provide assistance, advice and advocates for people who have serious complaints about a service. The functions of the Public Advocate include promoting, facilitating and encouraging the provision of services and facilities provided for people with a disability with a view to minimizing the restrictions on the rights of people with a disability. The Public Advocate may be appointed as a guardian or an administrator by the Guardianship List.

Phone: 9603 9500


Free call 03 9416 4003
1800 655 570 (Rural Victoria only)

Office email