New flexible respite program shifts the focus to carers

KinCare has launched the country’s first ‘truly flexible’ respite model designed to work around carers’ needs and schedules.

Funded by the Commonwealth Home Support Program, the new services are being rolled out in the ACT, NSW and WA – with other states expected to follow.

KinCare’s CEO Jason Howie, said the new model breaks down the barriers of accessing respite by removing fixed dates and times.

“Carers play an important role in our communities, yet the majority struggle to find time to care for themselves because respite options have become too rigid.

If we’re serious about increasing access to respite then it must be flexible and it needs to work within an environment that changes from day-to-day.”

Under the new suite of flexible respite arrangements a KinCare customer care manager would conduct a detailed assessment with each carer and care recipient to plan services that best meet their needs.

“Services can range from a few hours per week, to take a Zumba class, go for a swim, pamper themselves or simply visit friends, to live-in care that allows the normal carer to have a longer break.”

Carers NSW recently surveyed 1800 carers finding that a third had never accessed respite.

Elena Katrakis, CEO of Carers NSW, said prioritising the development of diverse, flexible respite options is a must amid ongoing changes to aged care, disability and carer service systems.

“Our survey confirmed that there simply isn’t enough flexible respite options and people are still unsure of how to access it.”

Katrakis said that many carers find respite gives them much needed time out from caring, allowing them to focus on their own health and well-being, spend time with family members and friends, or pursue education or employment.

“As our disability and aged care systems focus more and more on care recipients, it is getting harder for carers to access the respite they need.

“Respite needs to be made more accessible to carers rather than having to ring around various departments and being put on a waiting list that you never hear back from,” Ms Katrakis said.

Jason Howie said the new program will benefit both carers and KinCare customers.

“The new services model will provide the flexibility carers desperately need to take a break from their daily responsibilities  —  to take time out day or night – to enjoy the everyday life moments that are important to them. It is unfortunately common in this sector to find the carers struggle without any real support, and don’t get a much needed break to care for themselves.”

Find out more about Flexible Respite services

Call one of our friendly team members on 1300 733 510 or enquire online, we’re here to help.

About Carers NSW

Carers NSW is the peak non-government organisation for carers in NSW and works with all carers regardless of their age, location, life-stage or circumstances. This includes those caring for individuals with support needs relating to ageing, disability, health and mental illness.

For more information, visit the Carers NSW website or call the Carer Line on 1800 242 636.

When little things make a big difference

Being a disability support worker at KinCare is more than just a job for Angela Chapman. Angela finds it incredibly rewarding to build a close relationship with her customers, like Ludvig Kerec, whom she has worked with for five years, and seen him achieve his goals.

“I simply love visiting Lud every day,” says Angela, who leads a team of dedicated KinCare disability support workers who assist Lud and his wife Margaret on a daily basis.

In 2010, Lud was involved in a serious cycling accident that left him a quadriplegic. When Lud recovered enough to move back home to Canberra, his family had difficulties finding suitable in-home care.

“There is a lack of accessible housing and a lack of appropriate care services, even for people who are willing to pay.” says Lud’s son Andrew.

Finally, the Kerec family found KinCare. KinCare took the time to pair Lud and his family with Angela, one of our skilled support workers, who not only has the right qualifications to care for Lud, but was the right fit for the whole family.

Angela, or another support worker from the KinCare team, would spend most weekday mornings with Lud, assisting him with getting up and ready for the day. Angela was able meet Lud’s high-level needs and is respectful, reliable and trustworthy. She has also helped Lud to focus on identifying and achieving health and wellbeing goals.

“Angela is a very helpful and steadying influence in our home,” says Lud. “It’s important to me, and to my family, to have regular people coming around that we can trust.”

Over the five years she has been supporting Lud, Angela has transitioned into an administrative role, now ACT State Delivery Team Leader at KinCare. However, she has continued to proudly support and care for a few families she has built a real rapport with.

“The little things really do make a big difference in people’s lives,” says Angela, “I know that by doing my bit in the morning, the family have more time to make plans, to look after themselves, and to enjoy their lives together. Helping people in that way is very rewarding.”

Having support from KinCare has eased a lot of the pressure and stress felt by Lud and his family, allowing them to start to enjoy holidays and activities together.

“We have complete confidence in the care Dad receives from KinCare,” says Lud’s son Andrew. “Since they’ve come on board mum and I have enjoyed being just a wife and a son again. There are still highs and lows, but we’ve been able to go back to doing the things we love most as a family.”

Seeing the family recently come together to organise a 5,450km charity bike ride from Canberra to Humpty Doo that Andrew completed in early 2017, was a rewarding experience for all involved, including Angela. Lud was able to start and finish the ride alongside Andrew and his other son Malcolm using a hand-cycle, thanks to support from Angela and her team.

“I wish I could have travelled up to the Northern Territory with Lud, but my role was more about supporting Lud through his training and preparation ahead of the ride,” says Angela.

Outside their daily routine, Lud and Angela have formed a great connection built on common interests of reading and poetry. Lud tests both himself and Angela on remembering lines from the 15 Australian poems he knows by heart.

For Angela, this past-time activity with a special customer is just one of the many reasons she loves being a disability support worker with KinCare.

Join the KinCare team

Our dedicated team of disability support workers make a real difference to the lives of people with disability and their families. If you’re looking for a fulfilling career where you can support people to reach their goals, while also learning and growing on the job, contact KinCare today. We have a huge variety of jobs available all over Australia.

Find out more

Not slowing down

Seven years after a cycling accident left him a quadriplegic, Ludvig Kerec was back in the saddle to join his son, Andrew as he finished a five and a half thousand kilometre ride for SpineCare Australia in honour of his dad. It was a moment Lud will cherish forever.

In 2010, Lud’s life and that of his family changed irreversibly. While on a light training ride to prepare for an Ironman Triathlon, Lud, who was 60 at the time, was involved in a cycling accident and suffered a severe spinal cord injury. Damage to his C5/C6 caused him to lose close to all function below his chest, including his hands and chest muscles.

Determination, strength and unwavering support from his family in the years since has seen Lud regain his physical and mental health – but it hasn’t been easy.

“There were so many barriers we had to deal with that just didn’t need to be there,” said his son Andrew, who, alongside Lud’s wife Margaret, was one of his primary carers during the year following Lud’s release after seven months in hospital. “There is a lack of accessible housing and a lack of appropriate care services, even for people who are willing to pay.”

When Lud left hospital to continue his recovery at home, he and Margaret were lucky to be able to temporarily move in with Andrew and his wife Jodie, who made modifications to the plans for their new home which was under construction at the time.

Eventually, Lud and Margaret moved into their purpose-built accessible home, but they then faced difficulties finding suitable in-home care. Lud not only needs assistance getting up and showered in the morning, he also requires bladder and bowel care – a service that was scarcely available in Canberra at that time. “Mum and I took turns caring for dad, and we were willing to do it,” said Andrew, “but, boy, did I need a sense of humour at times to get through it!”

Five years ago, the Kerecs found KinCare and a team of disability support workers who were able to meet Lud’s high-support needs. It has made all the difference to the family, allowing Andrew and Margaret to resume their roles as son and wife, rather than carers, and Lud to focus on continuing to regain his strength.

Support from KinCare has eased a lot of pressure for everyone in the family, and helped Lud have goals to work towards with his family.

One of those goals has been to help Andrew plan and organise The Spine Tingling Ride, an ambitious fundraising mountain bike ride from Canberra to Humpty Doo that Andrew completed in early 2017. A former cartographer, Lud helped Andrew plan the 5,450km mostly off-road route, while physically preparing himself to join Andrew at points in the ride. Having made remarkable physical gains over the past few years, Lud was able to start and finish the ride alongside Andrew using a hand-cycle. With his other son, Malcolm also by their side, the Kerec men rode into Humpty Doo together to complete the epic journey and raise funds and awareness for spinal cord injury.

It was a great achievement for everyone involved and a special moment for the close-knit family. With months of planning and training now behind them, the family is looking forward to a less strenuous holiday together to the Kimberly in Lud and Margaret’s new accessible 4WD. It seems there’s no stopping Lud now!

Support to help you achieve your goals

We provide NDIS, state government and privately-funded care to Australians with disability. We will work with you to ensure the services and supports you choose are tailored to your individual needs. Visit our disability support page to find out more.

Five reasons you should get online

Learning basic internet skills, such as using email, surfing the internet and participating in social media, can provide lots of benefits for your health and wellbeing – without even leaving the house. Here are five reasons you should give it a go:

1. To stay close to family and friends

Using email and social media such as Facebook and Twitter are easy ways to stay connected with family and friends no matter how far away you are. No more waiting for letters and photos to arrive in the mail. With email, messages, photos and videos can be shared instantly, and thanks to technologies like Skype, you can video call your loved ones and catch up face-to-face.

2. To keep mentally active and informed

The internet provides a wealth of information at your fingertips. Keep up-to-date with what’s happening in your community or around the world by reading news and searching the internet. You can also access important information about healthcare, medical issues or financial advice.

3. To relieve social isolation and loneliness

Getting out in the community with likeminded people can be difficult when you get older. Thanks to the internet, there are online groups and forums for almost every topic or interest. With a bit of searching, you can find people who share your interests and communicate with them regularly through online forums.

4. To maintain your independence

You can do almost everything online – from paying bills and transferring money, to ordering groceries, buying products and booking appointments. By going online you can maintain control of your personal finances for longer, and continue to feel independent.

5. To give your family peace of mind

Email and social media make it easy and convenient to check-in regularly or daily with your family to let them know you’re okay. This can give your loved ones peace of mind and help you to continue to live in your own home for longer.

If you’re interested in learning more about using a computer and the internet, KinCare’s Social Connect Programme might be just the thing for you. To find out more about how KinCare can help you use email and social media, enqire now or simply call us on 1300 733 510.

Exit fees and what you should know

The Government’s recent Aged Care reforms make it easier for you as a customer to move between providers based on your support needs. But if you are thinking of trying out a new provider, it’s important to now check that they don’t charge any sneaky joining, moving or exit fees.

At KinCare, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to choose the most suitable provider for your needs so we won’t charge you joining, upgrade or exit fees. We focus on delivering a great service and being a provider that you’ll choose to stay with. That’s why we won’t lock you in.

This fee — and the amount charged — is optional for each provider, however there are certain legal requirements providers must follow when disclosing this information to you.

Recent media reports have highlighted cases where home care customers have been charged unexpected or hidden exit fees. We’re here to help you understand what you should be looking out for.

Get out of paying exit fees

Under the new reforms, providers can now charge you a fee if you choose to leave and go to another provider. This is a newly introduced discretionary fee which helps providers to cover the administration costs incurred when transferring you to your new provider.

An exit fee is only payable if it is outlined in your Home Care Agreement. If it is stated in the contract you signed, the specified amount will be deducted from any unused funds you have when you leave your provider. A provider cannot charge you an exit fee if it is not agreed on in your contract, and they cannot introduce this fee after you have signed your agreement.

Not all fees are equal

Exit fees are optional and vary in amount. Some home care providers, like us at KinCare, choose to waive joining, upgrade or exit fees to give you greater choice and flexibility in selecting the right provider. Other providers are reported to be charging as much as $4,000, with the average fee reported to be $417.

Check the fine print

Home care providers are now legally required to publish their maximum exit fee on the government’s My Aged Care website. This is the first time this information has been publicly available. Exit fees must be agreed to in your contract and cannot be higher than the amount published on My Aged Care, or your unspent funds.

What you can do

Regardless of your circumstances, it’s important to find out exactly what your current agreement states. Ask your provider for a copy of your Home Care Agreement and check it carefully for exit fees and the required notice period for leaving a package.

If you receive a letter from your provider asking you to pay an exit fee, refer back to your agreement. If it’s not stated there, don’t pay it.

If you are unsure about the fees you are being asked to pay, speak with your provider.

If you are still not satisfied, lodge a complaint with the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner by visiting or by calling 1800 550 552.

We can help you

At KinCare, we want to help you to understand the In Home Care changes so you can find the best services and supports for you.

If you could use some in-home support, or you have a friend or family member who does, visit our Aged Care page or call us now on 1300 733 510.