The aim of the Carer Respite Support Service provided by the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre Far North Coast (The Centre) is to coordinate access to respite in the Far North Coast region and to work with carers to plan approaches to respite and other support. The Centre works with carers to build on their existing strengths and promote independence.
Our clients are carers who:
- Are a family member, parent, partner, friend, neighbour or a significant other.
- Provide a regular significant level of support on an unpaid basis (this excludes government pensions or benefits) to a person who is frail aged, has dementia, a disability, a chronic, terminal or mental illness.
- Live in the local government areas of Tweed, Ballina, Byron, Clarence, Richmond Valley, Lismore or Kyogle.
- Carers who have been caring for a period of six months or more - or are likely to be - with the exception of palliative care
- To provide flexible short term, planned or emergency respite that meets the needs of the carer and the care recipient when other services are unable to provide support.
- To link carers to other services that can assist them in their caring role.
- To provide an after hours response for respite requests when the carer is experiencing an emergency or crisis in their lives.
- To work closely with a broad range of service organisations in the region - both government funded and privately operated - to improve access to respite for carers.
How We Work
Our team of experienced Coordinators provide:
- Referrals to services in the region that are appropriate to meet the ongoing respite or other support needs of carers.
- Coordination of short term, planned or emergency respite with appropriate and relevant services that meet the needs of the carer.
- Short term respite to give the carer a break from the responsibility of the caring role in planned and emergency situations.
- A brokerage model of service. We purchase respite from appropriate agencies within the region on a short-term or occasional basis.
- An after hours on call service for carers who are in crisis or have an emergency and are no longer able to continue with their caring role
Requests for respite may come from a number of different sources, including the carer themselves, a service provider or health professional.
When contacted by a carer, we :
- Discuss with the carer, their needs, the urgency of the situation and the type of service that might meet some or all of those needs.
- Determine whether there are any existing community or health services that could meet the carer's needs and seek permission to refer to that service.
- If there are no services available at the time the respite is needed, other options will be discussed with the carer.
- Try to locate an alternative service, and dependent on the situation, The Centre will consider purchasing respite for the carer.
- Assess the individual needs and situation of the carer on each contact to The Centre.
When contacted by a health or community service provider, we:
- Discuss the situation with the referrer.
- Determine whether permission has been given by the carer for The Centre staff to contact them or ask the referrer to inform the carer to contact The Centre.
- Contact the carer to clarify and discuss the need for respite, unless the carer is unable to be contacted due to illness, hospitalisation or other exceptional circumstances.
- Ask for a written referral if the carer and/or care recipient are a client of the referrer but are unknown to The Centre.
Who Can Refer Us
Carers, Care Recipients, Family Members, Community Service Providers, Health Care Workers and General Practitioners (GPs).