Respite services provide short-term or emergency support for carers and families of people with ME/CFS. Short-term breaks can be overnight or during the day and can be in-home, in residential settings, with another family or out in the community. Funding advice can be obtained from many of the key respite services listed below and from Centrelink on 13 17 27 or visit the Department of Human Services website at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/ (refer also to the Financial Services section of this booklet).
For details on health retreats refer to the Retreats and Holiday Accommodation section.
Key Respite Services
The following organisations are key contacts in Victoria for providing advice and help with finding respite services available to people with ME/CFS and their carers.
Annecto – Emergency After-hours Response Service (EARS)
EARS is an emergency after-hours response service for free in-home and non-medical emergency support for people with disability, older people and their carers. The service operates in the northern, western and eastern Melbourne metropolitan DHS regions and the Grampians.
The service operates from 5 pm to 9 am, Monday to Friday and 24 hours on weekends and public holidays. Emergency respite service for carers of frail older persons, or an adult or child with a disability in southern metropolitan Melbourne.
PH: 1800 727 280
A community care provider that supports people to live independent lives at home and in the community. Care Connect provides advice on services available to carers. In the Western metropolitan region, Carers Victoria has a Respite Connections program that provides support for carers in finding, accessing respite and assisting with costs.
PH: 1800 116 166
The Carer Advisory Service provides advice on services available to carers in their state. The call links directly to relevant state organisation (e.g. Carers Victoria).
PH: 1800 242 636
Carers Victoria provides access to state-wide carer counselling, education and advice. The organisation can be a useful starting point for carers trying to find out possible support and services available. Alternatively, carers can call the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres directly (see above). In the Western metropolitan region, Carers Victoria has a Respite Connections program that provides support for carers in finding, accessing respite and assisting with costs.
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres (CRCC)
CRCC provide free and confidential information on community aged care, disability and other support services available locally, interstate or anywhere within Australia. The centres can assist with information about costs for services, assessment processes and eligibility criteria. The centres can assist carers with short-term and emergency respite services, based on assessed need, and provide advice on and coordinate access to respite services in a carer’s local area.
PH: 1800 052 222 (BH)
1800 059 059 (Emergency) – for short term and immediate assistance outside business hours (free call except from mobiles).
Disability Intake and Response Service
The Victorian Department of Human Services Disability Intake and Response Service provides information about supports and services and can also provide assistance with planning and short-term support to people with disabilities, their families and carers in their local area.
The service can also provide more information on the Family Options Program which aims to support families of people with a disability by providing a choice to share their care responsibilities with volunteer carers on a short-term or long-term basis. The program may also offer short-term or long-term alternative family placements for people with disabilities, who are unable to live with their own families.
PH: 1800 783 783 (BH)
Family Options Website: http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-individuals/disability/carer-and-family-support/family-options-program
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact your local council to find out about available respite options in your area. Service will vary between councils.
Find your local council at http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/.
Other Respite Services
The following organisations also provide respite services. Some only apply to specific regions of Melbourne or Victoria.
Country Care provide one on one in-home attendant care and home support services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
PH: (03) 58247000 (BH)
0409561849 (emergency support outside business hours)
Eastern Access Community Health (EACH)
A health promotion service for social and community health. Provides respite services for carers.
Ph: 1300 003 224
Independence Australia is a not-for-profit organisation supporting people with a disability or other physical need to regain, retain and extend their independence. Includes respite accommodation (located in Williamstown) and care for people with disabilities and their carers.
Interchange provides support for families with a child or young person with a disability. Website provides contact details for local agencies.
Just Better Care
Just Better Care is a network of businesses providing in-home support for people with disabilities and respite for carers. Includes private and government funded services
The Respite Victoria website provides links to eight regional disability websites and includes a respite service search to locate services in your area for different types of disability and age groups. Each regional website includes specific local information and, news and events. In some regions, carers can sign up for weekly e-newsletters to obtain up-to-date news on disability respite, recreation and carer support for their local area.
PH: 1800 052 222 (see CRCC above)
Local regional disability respite websites:
Respite Information and Development in the East (RIDE): http://www.respiteeast.org.au/
Respite South: http://www.respitesouth.org.au/
Respite North and West: http://www.respitenorthandwest.org.au/
Respite in Gippsland (RIG): http://www.respitegippsland.org.au/
Respite Barwon and South West: http://www.respitebarwonsouthwest.org.au/
Grampians Respite: http://www.grampiansrespite.org.au/
Respite Loddon Mallee: http://www.respiteloddonmallee.org.au/
Respite Hume: http://www.respitehume.org.au/
UnitingCare Community Options
UnitingCare Community Options provides a range of services for family and informal carers. The majority of these services are delivered through Commonwealth Respite and Carelink centres.
Yooralla’s Breakaway Flexible Respite program for carers and includes facility and home based options and coordination of respite services in the eastern and southern areas of Melbourne. The program is useful for carers who do not have case management support or are having trouble identifying appropriate services. May be suitable only for severe ME/CFS.