Carers sometimes need help and support to keep going. You may think you can cope on your own, but many carers have found that getting help made their lives easier.
The availability of services may vary depending on where you live. Some services are free but others may have a cost.
Carers Associations in each state and territory provide carers with information and advice. They can help carers with referrals, counselling and support. They also provide resources on a wide range of topics including support groups, home help, financial entitlements and respite. Contact your local Carers Association on 1800 242 636.
The National Carer Counselling Program (NCCP) provides a short-term counselling program for carers to help reduce stress, and improve carer coping skills. The program is delivered by qualified, professional counsellors either in person, by telephone, one-on-one or in a group. The NCCP service is run by your local Carers Association.
Home care services can help with practical tasks in the home such as cleaning, shopping, laundry and helping with bathing, dressing and toileting.
A trained nurse may visit people with cancer in their homes to assist with personal care, administer medication, give injections or change dressings. Care may be provided regularly or when needed.
Getting in touch with other people who have been through a similar experience can be beneficial. In these support settings, most people feel they can speak openly, share tips with others, and just be themselves.
Support services are available for patients, carers and family members. They include:
Respite care allows carers to have a break from their caring role. Respite can be given at home, in a respite care centre or, in some cases, a hospital or hospice.
Respite care can be for a couple of hours, overnight or a few days. You can access respite care for any reason. For example, you may have respite care to:
Some carers don't access respite care because they feel guilty or concerned about leaving the person they are caring for. However, the service is there because caring can be a very difficult role and can challenge your own sense of well-being. By taking a break, you will probably find that you can continue your caring role more effectively.
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres are experienced in finding respite options for people of all ages and conditions. Call 1800 052 222.
You may be eligible for up to 63 days of residential respite care per year. For information, call 1800 052 222.
"I cannot speak highly enough of the Commonwealth Carers emergency respite services. They played a very important role in my case." — Carer
The Internet can be a useful source of information, although not all
websites are reliable. The websites listed below are good sources
of reliable information.
We thank the reviewers of this booklet: Jane Ussher, School of Psychology, University of Western Sydney, NSW; Piero Bassu, Consumer, NSW; Lindy Cohn, Cancer Information Consultant, Cancer Council NSW Helpline; Dr Mandy Goldman, Cancer Counsellor, Private Practice; Christine Harris, Consumer; Joanna Jarrald, Assistant Project Coordinator, Cancer Council NSW; and Colleen Sheen, Executive Manager, Policy, Strategy and Communication Unit, Carers NSW.