New Flexible Respite Programme 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 Programme, 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.”
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.
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.”
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.