Plan ahead for respite because it improves your caring ability

Plan ahead for respite because it improves your caring ability
Posted on Fri 18 May 2018

If you are a parent or carer take a moment to answer these questions. Are you easily annoyed? Do you feel stressed, tired or desperate for a holiday? Is there tension between you and your loved one? Do you need to attend appointments?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider organising respite for your child, family member or the person you care for. Rather than being a luxury for parents or carers of a person with a disability, respite is an essential element in providing the best care for those with a disability.

“Respite allows parents, family members and carers to take time out and come back to their role feeling refreshed,” explains Robyn McMurdo, Social Worker with Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA). “Many carers only turn to respite when they are feeling overwhelmed but a better strategy is to plan respite well in advance so that you don’t feel burnt out by the demands placed on you.”

Robyn urges parents and carers to consider the need for respite before they attend a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) planning meeting for their family member.

Think how respite meets NDIS goals

“Plan ahead rather than risk realising you need it later and not have any, or sufficient, funds.  Go to your planning meeting prepared with how respite will benefit your loved one.”

Robyn points out that while the NDIS now acknowledges the use of the word ‘respite’ and the need for parents and carers to have a break, it is important to identify what goals this might meet for the person with the disability.

Respite care can offer those with a disability the opportunity to:

  • develop independence within a supportive environment
  • have fun experiences away from the watchful eye of their parents or carers
  • enjoy outings and activities which may not interest their parents and carers, such as concerts, sporting events and movies
  • make friends with others
  • enjoy the excitement of sleep overs or short holidays.

“Parents have to feel comfortable knowing that they are leaving their loved one where they will be well looked after,” Robyn says. “But if the respite accommodation is offered by a trusted organisation, there is a good likelihood that your child, teen or adult will enjoy themselves.”

Tim Pines, CPA’s General Manager Accommodation and Respite, says, “To ensure each client has the best possible experience at CPA respite centres, we carefully select which respite house will be best to ensure all clients staying during that period will be compatible. We want our guests to enjoy meeting each other and spend time doing activities together.”

Activities can include group outings such as going to movies, visiting a national park or going out to a café. They can also include stay-at-home activities such as cooking, listening to music or watching televised sport.

Consider mid-week stays

CPA’s respite centres offer planned short-term stays from one-night to a maximum of 14 days, and they are open every day except Christmas Day.

Once you become a CPA respite client you will be sent a reminder every three months to book your next stay. The CPA team will also do its best to accommodate any special requests you may have for respite outside that period.

“While we always endeavour to give a client the days they select, the competition for weekends and peak periods, such as school holidays, is fierce,” Tim says. “If you require respite over the weekend it’s best to book well in advance.”

Tim also advises considering a mid-week stay. “Mid-week stays with us are a wonderful opportunity for parents or carers to attend appointments they may need in order to take care of their own health and wellbeing.”

Children and teenagers aged seven to 17 can stay in five houses in the Sydney suburbs of Castle Hill, Dee Why, Forestville and Thornleigh.

The comfortable five-bedroom houses have been purpose built for respite accommodation, with trained and trusted staff on duty at all times while children are in residence. Staff attend to all areas of daily living including personal care, domestic assistance and access to activities and events in the community.

Respite for adults is available in six CPA homes in the Sydney suburbs of St Ives, Roseville, Belrose, Ryde, Thornleigh and Chester Hill. Each house provides a level of service from the trusted staff that means clients are supported in all areas of daily life.

Start planning respite now

“Respite allows parents, family members and carers to take a break,” Tim says. “It reduces stress and helps to keep families together, but it’s important that you trust the respite centre so you can relax and enjoy your time out knowing your loved one is in safe hands. At CPA we ensure all staff are well trained and that clients will be compatible with the other clients who will be staying during the same period.”

Respite can be funded by your NDIS package, under the following categories:

  • Assistance with Daily Life
  • Assistance with Social & Community Participation

For more information about CPA respite options go here.

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