Stephanie Fewster from Carers WA
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Stephanie Fewster from Carers WA

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Stephanie Fewster from Carers WA presented on how her organisation supports many of the 300,000 carers in Western Australia

Stephanie Fewster from Carers WA presented on how her organisation supports many of the 300,000 carers in Western Australia

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  • Support and Services for CarersWelcome and thank you for inviting us to speak to you today. We are here to let you know about Carers WA, what we do and how we can support you in your caring role <br /> “Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water -it will make ripples throughout the entire pond.” Jessy and Bryan Matteo <br /> Explain to audience that even though they know what a carer is etc, it’s good to understand the type of work that we provide out to the community and the message that we emphasise. <br />
  • Carers Association of WA Inc is a not for profit community based organisation and registered charity, dedicated to improving the lives of the estimated 300,000 West Australian carers who provide the majority of care in our community <br /> As a peak body recognised by both State and federal governments, Carers WA is the voice of family carers, representing their interests in WA <br /> Our role is to work in active partnership with carers; persons with care and support needs, health professionals, service providers, government and the wider community to achieve quality of life for carers and their families <br />
  • According to the Carers Recognition Act 2004 (CRA) , a carer is someone who provides ongoing support, care or assistance to a person with disability or a chronic illness (which includes mental illness) or who is frail. A carer does not receive a salary or wage for the care they provide. <br /> In thinking about working carers, it’s worthwhile knowing that the caring role and responsibilities they’re juggling are recognised in legislation. <br /> A person may become a carer overnight, perhaps when a loved one is involved in an accident. Or over a period of time as a loved one gradually becomes frail and requires assistance with daily tasks <br />
  • Western Australia became the second place in the world to enact carer legislation with the introduction of the carers recognition Act in 2004 (the first was the UK). The carers Recognition Act was ground-breaking in its aims of recognising the important role carers have within care relationship and society. <br /> WA’s Act applies to WA Health including public hospitals, the Disability Services Commission and organisations funded by these agencies. The Act gives effect to Western Australia’s Carers Charter which these agencies and their funded organisations are obliged to comply with. <br />
  • Why do we need to care about carers? <br /> Largest ever survey of health and wellbeing of Australian carers showed that: <br /> Carers have the lowest collective wellbeing of any group yet discovered <br /> More than 1/3 of carers were severely/extremely severely depressed <br /> More than 1/3 experienced severe or extreme stress <br /> Carers are almost twice as likely as is normal to worry that their income will be sufficient <br /> More than ½ had a household income less than $30,000 per year <br /> Even carers in fulltime employment have a $7,200 deficit in household income compared to the national population <br /> Carers are almost twice as likely than normal to experience chronic pain <br /> Caring could be one of the leading causes of depression in Australia <br /> The major reason carers are not receiving medical or psychological treatment is they have no time or they cannot afford it <br /> Caring does not get easier with time and wellbeing levels appear to stabilise after two years in a caring role. <br /> Caring compounds the effect of any other factor that leads to reduced wellbeing <br /> Any level of consistent, daily immediate caring responsibility is sufficient to significantly damage wellbeing <br /> Wellbeing decreases as the number of hours spent caring increases <br /> The presence of a person in the household who requires care severely compromises the wellbeing of other family members, whether they are the primary carer or not <br /> Australian Unity Wellbeing Index Survey 17.a, Report 17.1 October 2007, Deakin University <br /> www://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqul/index_wellbeing/index.htm <br />
  • Public hospitals and disability service providers compliance with the carers charter is monitored annually by a Carer Advisory Council who feed back to the Health Department how organisations are complying (or not) with the charter <br />
  • We offer many services for carers. These services are free and intended to support and guide you in your caring role <br />
  • Everyone needs to talk to someone, to debrief and get things off their chest and our counselling team can offer that kind of emotional support. All of our counsellors are professionally qualified. When you contact our counselling service, you can build a rapport and maintain a relationship with the same counsellor. <br /> Access to counselling is via our counselling line: 1800 007 332. This line is manned from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday except public holidays. If the lines are busy, there is voicemail so please leave your name and number and a counsellor will call you back. After hours you will be directed to the Family help line. Once you have spoken with a counsellor on the phone, you can request face to face counselling. We have rooms in Joondalup, Kingsley, Midland, Gosnells, Fremantle, Rockingham and Perth. Face to face counselling is available in the Perth office every day, and once per fortnight in the other offices. <br /> You can also email the counselling team. The email address is chat@carerswa.asn.au. A counsellor will respond to your email within 3 working days and you can continue to use this form of communication if it suits you, or convert to telephone or face to face over time. <br /> We are now able to offer Skype counselling too, as long as you have the internet and software to support it. It’s a great opportunity to have face to face contact with your counsellor when you aren’t able to get to an office for your appointment. <br /> We also have contracts with counselling services in regional areas: Those areas are: <br /> Busselton, Margaret River, Harvey, Bridgetown <br /> Bunbury and donnybrook <br /> Kalgoorlie <br /> South Hedland <br /> Karratha, Kununurra, Broome <br /> Geraldton and Carnarvon <br /> Toodyay, Sawyers Valley <br /> Narrogin and Katanning <br /> Albany <br /> Esperance <br />
  • Advisory <br /> The advisory team provide carers with advice and support to help them in their caring role. A carer may call wondering how to access Centrelink benefits, or how to get more help with the care of their loved one. We can refer them on to the appropriate services and follow up to make sure that they get the help they need. We also help them if they are having a problem with services they are receiving and support them to resolve issues. <br /> We keep a record of all issues that are brought to our attention so that we can inform government bodies of what is affecting carers and what the government needs to address to improve the carers wellbeing. <br />
  • Social support is about taking time out from your caring role and enjoying the company of others who are also in a caring role. There are 2 main programs: <br /> Linking Together – encourages friendships and support networks within a carer’s own community. Groups of carers meet informally for lunch, coffee, movies, etc. They are held in 11 different metropolitan areas on a monthly basis. To register for an event, you first need to register as a carer, and then you can access these events. <br /> There are also social support groups in Busselton, Margaret River and Bunbury. <br /> Occasionally, Carers WA holds a special day event, such as a golf day for male carers, or an evening event for working carers. <br /> And we have pamper days in the Perth office once a month. These sessions operate on a lottery system in which carers are randomly selected each month <br /> Short Breaks – gives carers the opportunity to take time out over a couple of nights, in a small group to recharge their batteries and have a short break from caring – hence the name. Gentle activities are planned for the break, and a counsellor also attends in case you would like someone to talk to. Short breaks are held twice per year. Carers WA also allocats funding to other support groups to have a break – applications are open twice per year and are advertised on our website and in the newsletter <br />
  • Anne Bluntish Retreat: <br /> The Carers Retreat is a two bedroom, full furnished air conditioned apartment in South Perth, set in peaceful surroundings with beautiful views of the swan river and the city. Miss Anne Bluntish generously offers the Retreat for the use of Carers in need of a low cost, restful, hassle free short break in a comfortable relaxing environment. <br /> The maximum stay is 7 nights at one time with the minimum being 2 nights. A fee of $15 per night, per person is charged to assist with operational costs of the unit, eg electricity, rates, water etc. A carer can access the Retreat up to a total of 14 nights per year. <br /> The Retreat is reserved for the use of Primary Carers who are providing 24 hour, around the clock care for a family member or friend who is living under the same roof with them. Under certain circumstances permission maybe given for the care recipient to accompany the carer. <br />
  • ‘Prepare to Care’ staff work within hospitals to: <br /> Staff in this program work with the hospital staff to help to educate nurses, doctor’s and allied health staff to identify carers and be aware of some of the issues carers face. The aim of this program is that carers are recognised within the hospitals and receive the information they need to help families be better equipped for their caring role when the patient is discharged home. Or if the patient is a carer, that supports are put in place to care for their loved one whilst they receive treatment. <br />
  • Education: We provide interactive and informative workshops for both carers and service providers covering a broad range of issues relating to caring. These workshops are held across the metropolitan area to enable better access for carers. The education team also travels to regional areas to run workshops and network with service providers. The more awareness we raise in the community the more support should be available for carers regardless of where they live. <br /> We also hold Practical Matters forums which enable carers to meet and chat to a range of service providers all in the one place. They are held 4 times per year at different venues. <br /> Service Provider Orientations are held at the Carer Centre in Lord Street. These sessions inform service providers of the services we offer to carers and how we can work together to promote carer isseus and raise awareness. <br />
  • A "young carer" is a person under the age of 26 who helps to look after a family member with a disability, mental illness, chronic illness, or drug or alcohol problem. <br /> Social Support <br /> The Young Carers program provides camps and other fun events and networking opportunities for young carers to: <br /> Take a break <br /> meet and chat with other young carers <br /> Have time away from home <br /> learn about other services available to them <br /> Build resilience and support networks to assist them in their young carer role <br /> Schools Program <br /> We educate the teachers, support staff and students to recognise young carers in their school, and ensure they are supported <br />
  • Children with an eligible disability can access early intervention services to assist them to enter main stream schooling. The child needs to be registered before their 6th birthday and has until they turn 7 to use it. There is also a one-off payment for families living in regional and remote areas to help them access services. <br /> There are a number of diagnoses that qualify for better start funding and a range of early intervention services that can be accessed. <br /> Who is eligible to receive support under Better Start? <br /> Eligible children who are aged under six years and have been diagnosed with: <br /> Down syndrome <br /> cerebral palsy <br /> Fragile X syndrome, or <br /> a moderate or greater vision or hearing impairment, including deafblindness. <br /> From 1 January 2013, Better Start has been expanded to include children  diagnosed with: <br /> Prader Willi syndrome <br /> Williams syndrome <br /> Angelman syndrome <br /> Kabuki syndrome <br /> Smith-Magenis syndrome <br /> CHARGE syndrome <br /> Cornelia de Lange syndrome <br /> ‘Cri du Chat syndrome or <br /> microcephaly. <br /> Children in this  group who are under six (or turn six) on  1 January 2013 are eligible to register for Better Start. <br /> Children with one of the listed disabilities are also able to access Medicare rebates  under Better Start . <br />
  • The Carer Representation and Participation Program assists carers to participate on committees and advisory groups involved in health and mental health service policy development, planning and evaluation.   <br /> Carer representatives are nominated for committee positions based on their interest and experience in relation to the work of the committee. <br /> The Carer Rep program assists carers by providing training and coaching so that carers feel confident to represent wider carer interests. <br />
  • We have staff who keep up to date with whatever the government is working on in relation to carers. This team give staff invaluable information to take to meetings and forums so that we can give the carers perspective on planned or considered changes. The Policy team write pre-budget submissions, assist with data, research and tender documents. They ensure Carers WA is fully aware of what the government is proposing and how changes can affect carers in our community <br /> As well as working with Goverment and Agencies in WA Carers WA contributes to National Submissions. <br /> Sign up for Facebook to see what we are looking for. <br />
  • So, to keep up to date with what is happening at Carers WA and what we are currently working on, as a member you can receive a copy of our quarterly newsletter and monthly e-bulletins (general and mental health). <br />

Stephanie Fewster from Carers WA Stephanie Fewster from Carers WA Presentation Transcript

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