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29 May 2017

Emergency respite program giving Lower Eyre Peninsula families vital support

Lower Eyre Peninsula families are benefiting from a much-needed emergency respite care program – giving people caring for a loved one with dementia in their own homes, respite and support.

Funded by Country SA PHN and provided by Matthew Flinders Care Services (MFCS), the program is giving careers access to flexible, individual or group respite – at the same time giving them peace of mind that their loved ones are receiving the best possible care.

“Country SA PHN recognises that families need reliable, regular, quality assistance that exceeds the available government subsidy. We’re very pleased to be able to bridge this gap for carers and provide some respite from the overwhelmingly difficult and all-consuming job of caring for a loved one with dementia,” said Country SA PHN, Chief Executive Officer, Kim Hosking.

“Having access to emergency respite improves the quality of life of not only the carer, but also the care recipient.

This is particularly important in rural communities where carers have less access to services and greater distances required to access them,” Mr Hosking said.

Without this support many people simply cannot afford services they so desperately need and just battle along, doing the best that they can. This leaves carers at significant risk of stress, fatigue and other adverse health outcomes and those receiving care potentially unsettled, at risk of neglect and impaired safety.

In these situations, the outcome is often that the care recipient is prematurely placed into residential care, often in another town, or admitted to hospital.

“We needed an option for people who weren’t receiving any services and who were waiting to access subsidised care from the Department, as well as those who come to us at the last minute in a crisis,” said Matthew Flinders Care Services, Chief Executive Officer, Michael McKeown.

“This service is creating access equality throughout our community which is currently divided between those who can afford the care and those who cannot access it due to financial strain.”

While the program focuses on dementia patients, it’s also benefiting people experiencing cognitive decline from other causes.

Lower Eyre Peninsula resident Sue James and her family were struggling to look after her 90-year-old father after he had a heart attack just over a year ago.

“Most of us in the family had work commitments, but we all took turns looking after him a few days a week. He was going from one house to another, which wasn’t the ideal outcome for a man with dementia and the beginning of alzheimer’s,” Sue said.

“Thankfully, we spoke with the MFCS team who told us about the emergency respite funding that became available through Country SA PHN.

This funding allowed me to continue working full time and receive in-house support for my father every day.

“This has proven to be such a positive model for aged care, and a wonderful service within our community where we are so lacking in support. There is a very long waiting list to get my father into a nursing home here in Lincoln, and the list is increasing every week,” said Sue.

To be eligible for the service you must:

  • Be a Lower Eyre Peninsula resident;
  • Have a family member with dementia or cognitive decline;
  • Have no access to government subsidies to pay for respite or have exhausted current subsidies available to you; and
  • Be experiencing difficulty caring for a loved one with memory loss.

For further information or to access the service, please call Matthew Flinders Care Services – 8683 3970, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.mfh.com.au

Media Inquiries: Kate Dorsey, Michels Warren PR on 0417 811 010

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