Paul Kelly, 2012
A carer is someone who looks after a family member or friend who is not able to manage all their needs by themselves. You may be a close family member such as a spouse, son or daughter, brother or sister, parent or a neighbour or friend.
Each caring role is different. It can happen gradually or suddenly. It can last for a short time or a longer time. You might care for someone for a few hours or all the time.
Palliative Care South East provides support for the person with the life-limiting illness, their family, the people caring for them and anyone the person considers is important in their life.
Palliative Care South East understands that it can be overwhelming to care for a loved one, particularly if you’ve had no training or experience in looking after someone with a serious illness. Even if you have a health background - caring for someone you love is different. We are aware that caring for a loved one can be physically, emotionally and financially draining.
What you are doing is vital and we will help you and provide support to you along the way.
Our staff and volunteers will visit you and help you to develop a comprehensive support network. We will connect you to support agencies and help you to plan ahead.Your Palliative Care team includes:
We know that you are dedicated to caring for your loved one or friend at home and that sometimes you are not really aware of how taxing it is to care for someone with a serious illness.
Talk to your Palliative Care South East team. We are here to help you. Don’t wait until you feel totally overwhelmed. It is important to remember that there may be a waiting list for services. You will need to plan ahead. We can help you to plan ahead and arrange whatever support or services you currently need and will need in the future.
You may face a wide range of serious practical challenges. You may have to leave your job to take on a full-time carer role, which may result in financial hardship. You may have to assist your loved one or friend to shower, which you have never done before.
Many carers feel that they cannot leave the person they are caring for to attend appointments or take a break due to their 24 hour/7 day per week carer role.
Many of our clients require complex medication management, which may make you feel uneasy.
We can assist you in solving these practical challenges. Our dedicated team will support you in the home to build your confidence and ability to care for your loved one or friend.
If you are unsure, we can help you to find solutions to the problems that you may be facing – you just need to ask.
Many carers describe their days as like ‘riding a roller coaster’ - always up and down. You may have feelings of anxiety, depression, fatigue, a low mood, helplessness, hopelessness, among others.
Emotional challenges are absolutely huge, as caring for a loved one or friend who has a terminal illness is not easy.
Our dedicated team is aware of this and are here to support you. All of your team are well trained to offer emotional support and assurance. You can contact us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed and helpless, our Nursing team and Allied Support Workers, e.g., Counsellors, Spiritual Care Worker, Music Therapist and volunteers are available to talk with you.
Palliative Care South East holds community forums and education sessions throughout the year. The focus of the sessions is to provide an interactive and safe space for you to ask questions and get practical tips, information and advice. It is an opportunity for you to learn skills that will help you in your caring role. It is also an opportunity for you to meet other carers and share your experiences in a safe environment.
Find out when our next session is by emailing: email@example.com
Comments from some of our Carer Support Education Day attendees are:
“Wonderful day. I was surprised at how much I learnt.”
“I felt the day had so much valuable information and was well balanced in the content offered. I certainly learnt a lot and I’m sure it would have been a great help to other carers attending.”
"One of our nurses visited a family after a Carer Support Session…… “I saw [client name] today and his wife was raving about how fantastic the carer support day was. She said that she wished that she could have stayed for the whole day.”
In 2016 Palliative Care South East received funding from South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network to develop a Carer Support Kit.
The aim of the Carer Support Kit is to provide carers with useful information and tips to help them to care for their loved one.‘The Kit’ will include:
We want your help - Contact Palliative Care South East if you would like to be involved in the development of the Carer Support Kit
Palliative Care South East is proud to offer the Weavers Carer Support Program in our communities.
This outstanding initiative is aimed at caring for the carers by people who know. The Weavers program has been designed with carers and for carers. It works by providing support along the caring journey. Weavers are people who have experienced what it means to be a carer. They truly understand what it's like and are trained to use this know-how to support carers in their local community.
Our Weavers are volunteers who work along side our health professionals. They will help you to navigate and negotiate the service maze, help you to stay connected and involve others, help you to work through emotional challenges and help you to sustain things for yourself.
If you would like more information regarding our Weavers Carer Support Program please contact our Carer Educator on 5991 1300 during office hours.
Also, if you have been a carer and would like to share your experience to assist others, join our Weavers Team. To find out more about becoming a volunteer Weaver contact our Carer Educator on 5991 1300 during office hours.
"Caring is hard, it can help to have someone show you different ways"
"Caring for Mum and Dad was a huge learning curve. I wish I had someone who knew what it was like and to share what they had learnt. That's why I'm a weaver"
Grief is a natural response to the death of a loved one or friend. The death of someone you love is one of the greatest losses that can occur. We all feel grief in our own way – there is no right or wrong way to feel. It is important that you let yourself grieve as much and as long as you need to.
There are many emotions that you may feel – denial, anger, guilt, sadness, anxiety or fear. In time these feelings will pass as you adjust to a different way of life. Also, you may be concerned about how other family members or friends are coping with their loss.
There are practical, legal and financial matters to deal with that you may not have thought about before.
We are here to support you during this time of change. Talk to us when we visit or call the office on 5991 1300 to arrange for one of our trained staff to contact you to talk about our Bereavement Support Program.
Palliative Care South East provides a Bereavement Support Program which can assist carers and family members to cope with the significant changes they may experience following the death of their loved one.
Our support program is run by our qualified and experienced team who will assist you. Bereavement support may be provided by a Social Worker, Counsellor, Music Therapist, Bereavement Volunteer or Spiritual Care Worker.
We will offer support and referrals to assist you to deal with practical matters such as completing paperwork, obtaining financial assistance and linking you to community support.
We will assess the psychological impact of illness and death for the carer and family members and help you to explore your feelings. Your care starts from the first visit from our team and continues into Bereavement care.
The Bereavement Support Program is available for 13 months following the death of a loved one and is free of charge. The program is available to family members and carers.
Palliative Care South East knows it can be difficult to adjust to a life without your loved one or friend. We run a monthly Bereavement Social Support Group for bereaved carers to meet and enjoy some social time together. The group meets monthly for lunch. Participants are encouraged to support one another by sharing stories of how they are coping – what helps, how they are finding a way forward and reinventing themselves in a world without their partner, family member or friend. The group is run by a Palliative Care South East team member and several volunteers.
Plans are underway to expand this support to include a walking group.
Contact us if you would like to join the group
Palliative Care South East also provides support through the biannual Remembrance Service. We invite family and friends of our clients to come together to remember their loved one and to celebrate their life. We hold the Services in May and November of each year.