Who Cares For The Carers?

Respite Care is a term which probably isn’t a familiar one to many. Often when a person who has recently been in hospital, or still lives in their own home but requires special care, possibly as a result of severe illness or simply because they are old, requires special full-time care. It goes without saying that the practicality of a family member or close friend caring for someone round the clock is a little difficult to maintain on a permanent basis, and when help is required, this is known as ‘respite care’.

A comprehensive range of services constitute this specialist service which enables adapted living arrangements for people who require this level of support. Typically, when requiring respite care Brisbane residents predominantly require an intense period of short-term support. This could be the result of a recent visit to the hospital which has caused the patient to have limited abilities for the following weeks as they recover from surgery or an operation. 

The same services are also there for the support of carers too. When people become full-time carers, often through need more than anything else, it puts a lot of strain on them. Their lives become consumed by the requirement to support someone else, which means that their own daily and weekly jobs, tasks, schedules and responsibilities get put on hold because they no longer have the time or energy to carry them out. This naturally weighs heavy on the duty of the carer, and often carers themselves become ill if they don’t correctly manage these situations. Respite Care is ultimately for the benefit of the carers, so that they can take planned breaks, or short holidays. It can make a phenomenal difference to a carer’s ability to cope, knowing that they have a fall-back service should it be required.

From short stints to longer-term requirements, these services are widely available from specialist service providers, both privately and through the Queensland Government-funded agencies, to the people that need them the most.

Often, the requirement for short-term respite care services and prompted by an emergency such as an urgent need to be somewhere at a specific time, or for example if the carer becomes ill themselves and is unable to look after a person. On a longer-term basis, service providers will usually provide a choice of care programs which enable the regular carer to plan their own needs out around a regular visit roster. For example, whilst a carer may spend most of their time at their patient’s home, they may prefer to eat and sleep in their own home, and therefore require night time care for the patient during the week, or maybe at weekends. In these situations, the respite carer will quickly become familiar with the routine and will be able to smoothly pick up wherever they are required. This seamless care then clearly becomes beneficial for the patient and for the main carer.

As a carer for someone close to you and in need, respite care is a service that can benefit you too. By being able to maintain a life of your own, even if it’s just for a few hours each day, can go a long way to maintaining your ability perform as a full-time carer, until the person you care for is finally ready to live independently once more.

Kenneth Bennett

Atticus Bennett: Atticus, a sports nutritionist, provides dietary advice for athletes, tips for muscle recovery, and nutrition plans to support peak performance.