Australasian Multiple Sclerosis Network of Care Multiple Sclerosis Network of Care Australia

A Voice for People Affected by MS

Carer Assistance and Respite Support  

CCSVI Australia

''All carers should have access to flexible breaks'' TurnOnthe Tap
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Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres provide free and confidential information about support services for people with disabilities and those who provide care and services. Centres also work with carers to plan sensible approaches to respite and other support needs and also arrange 24 hour emergency respite care. There is a network of 'shopfront' Centres throughout Australia.  Anyone can contact a Centre by phoning 1800 052 222 Good starting points can also be your Community Occupational Therapist, regional MS Community Support Worker, Local Area Coordinator or GP. Newly diagnosed




In 2006 Carers NSW provided a report titled "Respite Reconsidered : A discussion of key issues and future directions for carer respite". The Executive Summary observes "Unpaid carers provide the majority of assistance that enables people requiring support to live in the community. Respite is a vital service for such carers. This is because it provides them with essential short breaks from their caring role. In this way respite is one of the services that enables carers to continue caring (and thus supports the community care system). Living at home is not only the wish of most people with significant need for assistance but it is also the goal of government policies".


It goes on to say "A range of responsive, flexible models of service delivery are required. It must be recognised that every care relationship is different - yet all carers should have access to breaks in a sustainable community care system" - an example of a flexible model that links MS rehabilitation to respite for carers. '




"Respite’ (as it is currently used) can be anything from a one-off break to an indefinite period of care when the care arrangements at home break down. Respite is better defined by the outcomes it produces rather than the specific service delivery model, as flexibility in respite services is a key principle of effective respite. We hope to reach a clearer shared understanding between government, service providers and carers about what respite is and what it aims to achieve. It may be necessary to rethink terminology used when referring to respite". - access this report.




Drawing distinctions between respite as a process as compared to a specific program or service opens the door for broader discussions. In this context  respite could be better defined as "an ongoing process the outcomes of which enhance the well being and quality of life perceptions of families caring for people with multiple sclerosis and those for whom they care". All too often it is the inability of people living with MS to access lifetime continuous care programs and services (that include access to multidisciplinary professional teams, with expertise in MS management) that significantly compounds the workloads and QoL perceptions of families living with MS - more on this topic




Following is a selection of Carer and Respite support programs and services identified by people with MS. While some of these may relate to services in a specific locality they typify the types of support more broadly available.  If in doubt check with your regional MS Australia representative to find out about the availability of these or comparable services in your locality. Topics are presented alphabetically.




Contact More  
Assistance and Information  Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres - Health and Ageing Provides information on community aged care, disability and other support services available locally or anywhere within Australia - see also above. Click here to locate a Centre in your area.   1800 052 222 Visit
Carers Australia The Peak Body for carers in Australia   02 6122 9900 Visit
Centrelink Services Centrelink A summary of Centrelink support services for Carers. 132 717 Visit
Companion Card The Companion Card allows people who have a significant and lifelong disability to take a carer on public transport and to recreational activities and events for the price of a single ticket Companion Cards can be presented at participating organisations where cardholders will not be required to pay an admission fee for their companion who is providing attendant care 1800 893 044 Visit
Family and Carer Support. MS Australia - ACT/NSW/VIC - A service to assist the family or carer for someone who has MS.  Aims to facilitate the necessary care and assistance to a family member, a friend, or a person with whom a person with MS has a strong relationship - Carer registration with MS Australia is a good starting point. 1800 042 138 More
Financial Recognition Centrelink Carer Allowances For people who care for an adult with a disability at home. - see also the Income Support area of this Road Map for more broadly based income support services. 132 717 Visit
FlexiRest - supporting people in NSW with MS  A NSW Government funded program in association with MS Australia. Funds a range of services that can offer respite either in home or out of home that cannot be met by existing community and respite services Provides flexible respite funding that can be adaptable and responsive to your individual needs. It allows people with Ms and their carers and families to design and choose respite options that suit them both. 1800 042 138 More
Government funded  care services Frequently asked questions The delivery of these services varies considerably across Australia and is based on community and local needs. Some are funded by the Australian Government, while being delivered mostly by the non-government sector. Others may be funded and delivered by State and Territory governments, the private sector or other non-government organisations.   Visit
Homecare and Support MS Road Map This area of the Road Map includes details of a wide range of services including case management, computer loans, continence assistance, custom designed aids, home care , home modifications, home nursing, income support, independent living centres, mobility aids, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, respite care, telecommunication subsidy, transport and mobility.   More
Income Support Centrelink Carer Payments For people who cannot support themselves while caring for someone with a disability - see also the Income Support area of this Road Map for more broadly based income support services. 132 717 Visit
National Respite for Carers Program Health and Ageing Supports relatives and friends caring at home for people who are unable to care for themselves.  1800-059-059 Visit
National Respite for Carers Program National Respite for Carers Program - Health and Ageing Carers are also able to obtain counselling through  qualified counsellors on issues that are specific to the carer’s needs such as depression, stress related issues, grief and loss and coping skills - up to 6 counselling sessions with a local counsellors can be provided. 1800 242 636 Visit
Support Groups for Carers  Carers Australia Details of  Carer Support Groups  1800 242 636 Visit



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